An Act to provide for the prohibition of solemnization of child marriages and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Child marriages

  1. Every child marriage, shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party who was a child at the time of the marriage.
  2. If at the time of filing a petition, the petitioner is a minor, the petition may be filed through his or her guardian or next friend along with the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer.
  3. While granting a decree, the district court may make an interim or final order directing the male contracting party to the child marriage, and in case the male contracting party to such marriage is a minor, his parent or guardian to pay maintenance to the female contracting party to the marriage until her remarriage.
  4. Where there are children born of the child marriage, the district court shall make an appropriate order for the custody of such children.

Punishments

If a male adult above eighteen years of age, contracts a child marriage, then he shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.

Whoever performs, conducts, directs or abets any child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless he proves that he had reasons to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.

Marriage of a minor child to be void in certain circumstances.

  1. Where a child, being a minor.
  2. is taken or enticed out of the keeping of the lawful guardian.
  3. by force compelled, or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place.
  4. is sold for the purpose of marriage; and made to go through a form of marriage or if the minor is married, after which the minor is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes, such marriage shall be null and void.
  5. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, an offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable.

Child Marriage Prohibition Officers

The State Government shall, appoint officers to be known as the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer having jurisdiction over the area specified.

      It shall be the duty of the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer:

  1. to prevent solemnization of child marriages by taking such actions as he may deem fit.
  2. to collect evidence for the effective prosecution of persons contravening the provisions of this Act
  3. to advise either individual cases or counsel the residents of the locality generally not to indulge in promoting, helping, aiding or allowing the solemnization of child marriages.
  4. to create awareness of the evil which results from child marriages.
  5. to sensitize the community on the issue of child marriages.
  6. to furnish periodical returns and statistics as the State Government may direct.
  7. to discharge other functions and duties as may be assigned to him by the State Government.

Protection of action taken in good faith.

No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer in respect of anything in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rule or order made there under.