19 under-age marriages stopped in Gujarat; 61 child wedlocks in five years

As many as 61 cases have been reported under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) between 2017 and 2021.
Child marriage (Representational Image)
Child marriage (Representational Image)

AHMEDABAD:  In a startling episode, around 38 teenagers were rescued from a mass wedding ceremony in Ahmedabad’s Vatava neighborhood.

A member of ‘Pryas’ NGO, upon learning that 38 weddings were about to be held as part of a mass marriage ceremony in Ahmedabad, swing into action and stopped the wedding preparations on Friday with the help of volunteers, District Child Marriage Prohibition Office and the local police. 

The member had learned that some of these mass marriages were underage marriages. 

Upon reaching the wedding venue, officials sought the birth certificates of all 72 individuals scheduled to marry and over the next two days, the organisation in charge of the mass marriage ceremony cooperated with the government officials and produced the needed paperwork.  

It was discovered that 19 of the 36 potential weddings were illegal and at least one of the participants was under the legal age for marriage. The team had verified the names registered in mass marriages for two days.

Men in India are legally permitted to get married only at the age of 21, while women are allowed to do so when they turn 18.

Project coordinator of ‘Prayas’ NGO Indrajeetsinh Chauhan said, “Our team verified the names registered in mass marriages for two days on Friday and Saturday after receiving information that some people were getting married in Vatva, Ahmedabad, despite the fact that they were not legally eligible to do so. We discovered 19 couples, or 38 people, were getting married despite not being of marriageable age.”

Meanwhile, Gujarat has reported as many as 61 cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) between 2017 and 2021, as per the Union Government's data tabled in the Parliament on March 31, 2023.

As many as six incidents of child marriage were reported in 2017 and eight in 2018.

2019 saw a rise in child marriage-related cases with 20 such incidents being reported, while as many as 15 and 12 such cases were reported in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Child marriage cases in Gujarat

  • 2017: 6
  • 2018: 8
  • 2019: 20
  • 2020: 15
  • 2021: 12

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