Sexual intercourse with minor wife verdict: Meet the two petitioners

The petitioners in the case in which the Supreme Court overturned the age-old practice of child marriage operates out of a humble home-cum-office in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.

Published: 12th October 2017 07:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2017 08:52 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The petitioners in the case in which the Supreme Court overturned the age-old practice of child marriage operate out of a humble home-cum-office in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. Vikram and Ranjana Srivastava started their campaign against child marriage five years back.

“We could see there was a clear conflict of law. It was basically to protect people who were marrying girl children between the age of 15 and 18. This legal reform will create the social environment that will open up many debates across the country. Crime is a crime, even if it is one child, should the (earlier) law stand?” said Vikram, advocate and founder of Independent Thought, the non-governmental organisation which filed the petition in 2013.

The office-cum-home, which is located in a residential area in Noida’s Sector 20, has three rooms, each not too spacious. The office has around four computers. There are two shelves lined with legal journals. In another shelf, there are books and magazines on topics related to girl children. Two whiteboards are stuck on the wall. One has a ‘To-do’ list and the other, a list of PILs which are coming up for hearing in the court. It also has a list of books, T-shirts and mugs to be printed for distribution.

Once you are inside, you will feel the heat of the day. The phones are constantly ringing and members are always updating and sending messages through Facebook to other members in other offices. But Vikram and Ranjana remain calm and composed, glancing at Vikram’s laptop screen for further cases regarding reforms related to girl children. “We should use the law as a tool for social change, we have been working on the forefront of legal reforms for girls. After this decision, the behaviour across the country will slowly change. Everyone in the society has to reform to see the change,” said Ranjana, the secretary of Independent Thought.

The petitioners believe the judgment will strengthen the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign. “In terms of saving the life of a girl child, this decision will be effective. But now we hope that the government will ensure compulsory education for girl children up to 18 years, under the Right To Education,” said Vikram.

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