One country, one law against child marriage stressed

One country, one law against child marriage stressed

Different religions follow different age groups to consider bride for marriage

First Additional District and Sessions Court judge D Kambegowda on Saturday emphasised on framing a uniform law irrespective of religion to check child marriage.

Addressing the gathering during a workshop for panchayat development officers (PDOs) organised at the Zilla Panchayat auditorium under the joint auspices of the State Child Rights Protection Commission, the district administration and the Panchayat Raj Department, Kambegowda said, “It is time one country, one law should be introduced.”

Referring to the marriageable age of brides in different religions, Kambegowda said, while the Muslim girls who attain 16 years of age are considered eligible for marriage, Hindu girls who are 18 years old are legally permitted to marry. In the event of such different laws, a uniform law should be devised, he suggested.

Calling harassment against children ‘nothing new’, Kambegowda said, very few cases come to light, with most of the cases registered under Prevention Of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act settled through mediation at the time of enquiry itself.

Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Dr R Ragapriya said, “PDOs should take action to check child marriages. Gram panchayat presidents, members and villagers too should be made aware of the related Act. Whenever such cases come to light, they must call the toll free helpline on 1098.”

Raghavendra Bhat, regional coordinator of child rights protection unit, said, “According to Prevention of Child Marriage Act 2006, the PDO, the village accountant and the headmasters of government school share equal responsibility in checking such cases as well as cases of child labour. The PDO is considered as a labour officer at GP-level.”

1n all 23 child marriages have been reported in the district. PDOs shall appear before the court as witness only once, instead of frequently visiting the courts, said Bhat.

The officer said that the third highest of cases related to child marriage in the country are reported in Karnataka. Such social malaises are impeding development of the country.

Principal Senior Civil Judge Basavaraj Chengati, J Somashekar Special Juvenile Police Unit from Koppal, Child Welfare Committee president H C Nataraj were present.

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