The Child Marriage (Restraint) Act, 1929

WHY WAS THE ACT INTRODUCED ?

TO PROMOTE A BROADER CONTEXT OF EQUALITY AND ECONOMIC WELL BEING.

Poverty perpetuates child marriage – while we focus specifically on addressing this issue, it is important to ensure that investments are being made to reduce poverty. Child marriage is more prevalent in poor households and in poor communities. Almost all countries in which more than 50 percent of girls are married before the age of 18 have GDP per capita under $2,000 per year.

Communities throughout the developing world are mobilizing to end child marriage. They want to offer their daughters better and different lives. Grassroots and community-based groups in a number of countries are trying to eradicate this harmful traditional practice, but their efforts are hampered by lack of funds and coordination

The time has come for development policies to focus on and respond to the special needs and vulnerabilities of married women and young married girls. We need to act now to help communities prevent child marriage in order to make marriage safe and healthy for all.

TO PREVENT THE DEPRIVATION OF CHILDHOOD
Every child has the right to a happy and regular childhood. This act was aimed at providing that right to the children. Despite national laws and international agreements prohibiting child marriage, millions of children in the developing world are married, and as a result, denied the ordinary experiences of childhood and adolescence. However, today in parts of India, like the state of Rajasthan, nearly 80 percent of the marriages are among girls under the age of 15. In Rajasthan, some girls are married as early as age 7. Efforts at the national level are underway in India to amend this law to make all child marriages void through the Prevention of Child Marriage Bill 2004.
TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE EDUCATION
Every child has the right to be educated. Early marriage deprives the child of this right. Also, at this young age the children lack education not only academically but also in terms of life. Knowledge about sexual intercourse and how to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases along with the knowledge of using contraceptives are necessary before entering into the institution of marriage.
Support for primary education programs to enroll girls (married and unmarried) in school and ensure that girls (married and unmarried) complete their education. Additional support for primary education programs is necessary to reduce the barriers that prevent girls (married and unmarried) from staying in school. The govt. of India has taken steps to make primary education free and compulsory for not only girls but for all children between the age of 6 and 14.
TO REDUCE THE POPULATION
India’s already large population was swelling by the day. The larger the number of people the more difficult it is to govern them. The practice of child marriage was not helping the cause as no thought was given to procreation and was just considered to be a part of life which should be taken as it comes. By preventing child marriage it was assumed that the population would be brought under check . This was to be beneficial not only for the rulers but also the ruled.
PROVISIONS OF THE CHLD MARRIAGE (RESTRAINT) ACT, 1929
SHORT TITLE, EXTENT AND COMMENCEMENT.
(1) This Act may be called the Child Marriage Restraint Act,[ 1929] (2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and it applies also to all citizens of India without and beyond India:
Provided that nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the Renoncants of the Union territory of Pondicherry.
(3) It shall come into force on the 1st day of April. 1930.
DEFINITIONS.
In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,-
(a) “child” means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age ;
(b) “child marriage” means a marriage to which either of the contracting parties is a child;
(c) “contracting party” to a marriage means either of the parties whose marriage is or is about to be thereby solemnised ; and
(d) “minor” means a person of either sex who is under eighteen years of age.
PUNISHMENT FOR MALE ADULT BELOW TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE MARRYING A CHILD.
Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age and below twenty-one, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to fifteen days, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
PUNISHMENT FOR MALE ADULT ABOVE TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE MARRYING A CHILD
Whoever, being a male above twenty-one years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with simple Imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine.
PUNISHMENT FOR SOLEMNISING A CHILD MARRIAGE
Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine, unless he proves that he had reason to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.
PUNISHMENT FOR PARENT OR GUARDIAN CONCERNED IN A CHILD MARRIAGE.
(1) Where a minor contracts a child marriage, any person having charge of the minor, whether as parent or guardian or in any other capacity, lawfill or unlawful, who does any act to promote the marriage or permits it to be solemnised, or negligently fails to prevent it from being solemnised, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine
Provided that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment.
(2) For the purposes of this section, it shall be presumed, unless and until the contrary is proved, that where a minor has contracted a child marriage, the person having charge of such minor has negligently failed to prevent the marriage from being solemnised.
OFFENCES TO BE COGNIZABLE FOR CERTALN PURPOSES
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall apply to offences under this Act as if they were cognizable offences-
(a) for the purpose of investigation of such offences: and
(b) for the purposes of matters other than (i) matters referred to in Sec. 42 of that Code, and (ii) the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.
JURISDICTION UNDER THIS ACT.
Notwithstanding anything contained in Sec. 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), no Court other than that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall take cognizance of, or try, any offence under this Act.
MODE OF TAKING COGNIZANCE OF OFFENCES.
No Court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act after the expiry of one year from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.
PRELIMINARY INQUIRIES INTO OFFENCES.
Any Court, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which it is olemnizat to take cognizance, shall, unless it dismisses the complaint under Sec. 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)], either itself make an inquiry under Sec. 202 of that Code or direct a Magistrate subordinate to it to make such inquiry.
POWER TO TAKE SECURITY FROM COMPLAINANT.
Repealed by the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1949 (41 of 1949), Sec. 71.
POWER TO ISSUE INJUNCTION PROHIBITING MARRIAGE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THIS ACT.
1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act, the Court may, if satisfied, from information laid before it through a complaint or otherwise that a child marriage in contravention of this Act has been arranged or is about to be solemnized, issue an injunction against any of the persons mentioned in Secs. 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this Act prohibiting such marriage.
(2) No injunction under sub-section (1) shall be issued against any person unless the Court has previously given notice to such person, and has afforded him an opportunity to show cause against the issue of the injunction.
(3) The Court may either on its own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made under sub-section (1).
(4) Where such an application is received, the Court shall afford the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before it either in person or by pleader; and if the Court rejects the application wholly or in part, it shall record in writing its reasons, for so doing.
(5) Whoever knowing that an injunction has been issued against him under sub-section (1) of this section disobeys such injunction shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both:
Provided that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment.

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