A podcast outlining CLPR’s interventions against Child Marriage in India, as a researcher and a litigator, can be accessed here.
Brototi Dutta, Senior Researcher at CLPR discusses the Legal and Policy Brief of Child Marriage, developed from research funded by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which contains recommendations to strengthen existing laws against. She tells us about the process used to develop the brief:
- An analytical study of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and allied laws.
- An extensive right to information exercise which collected data on the subject.
- Utilization of inputs from secondary sources like government functionaries, NGOs, and activists, and from those minor girls whose marriages were prevented.
- A Stakeholders’ consultation in Bangalore, which was attended by NGOs, activists, noted academics, lawyers, and Government representatives.
She discusses the main challenges faced while obtaining the data from various governmental agencies using RTIs and then concludes by outlining the main issues discussed and debated in the consultation namely: 1) the voidable nature of child marriage, 2) concerns with how PCMA was being implemented and 3) the lack of uniformity in the laws implemented to protect adolescent girls from child marriage.
Disha Chaudhari, Litigation Associate working with CLPR, discusses our next phase of the work – litigation to empower victims of child marriage to fight for their rights. She tells us about child marital rape exception case currently being fought in the Supreme Court, in which CLPR represented the intervenor Child Rights Trust – CRT and about Ms. Jayna Kothari‘s arguments in that case. The marital rape exemption, makes penal provisions of rape inapplicable in the case of husband and wife provided the wife is not below 15 years of age. This she argues, is in violation of Article 14, 15, 21 and 39(f) of Constitution of India and inconsistent with Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. She concludes by hoping that the Supreme Court bench reads down the provision to exclude child brides from the marital rape exception which would be a huge step forward in the child rights advocacy.