The practise of early marriage of children is not confined to India but it is a global problem. The practice of child marriage in India may be dated back to the ancient period however, during the Muslim rule in India, the practice of child marriage was found more prevalent in northern states. It is the advent of different forms of culture which came in from the northern borders which may have influenced by various communities to resort to early marriages.
The practise of child marriage in northern India is closely associated with pious occasions such as Akha Teej, Ganesh Chaturthi etc. The main reason for early marriage is associated with cultural traditions and customs, economic hardship, poverty, educational backwardness and social pressure from within the community to marry daughters before attaining puberty. However, there are multiple reasons that sustain the practice of child marriage in India.
Bringing to an end to child marriage is a daunting challenge because parents who understand the negative consequences of child marriage may find it hard to resist economic, cultural and societal pressures. Existing culture and tradition is one of the key challenges that India faces in curbing the practice of child marriage. Local traditions, customs and culture are difficult to change in favour of child rights and development goals. However, wide spread of education and consistent efforts of civil society organizations for advocacy against the practice of child marriage may change the societal mind set in the long run. Poverty is another major challenge that needs to be addressed to stop the practice of child marriage. Besides the prevailing practice of dowry and increasing cost of marriage ceremonies are the contributing factors for the sustenance of the practice. The enforcement machinery of legislations, laws and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act is reported to be weak in most of the parts of the country.
Thus, there is need to strengthen the machinery of law enforcement in India. Against this view point, the present study purports to analyze the current situation, causes, and consequences of child marriage and also enforcement of Child Marriage Prohibition Act. The study has been conducted 10 states viz., Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Gujarat and Orissa, covering survey of about 10,000 persons including parents (2778 i.e. 61.73 per cent for boys and 1722 i.e. 38.27 per cent for girls), victims of child marriage (1596 i.e. 35.47 per cent boys and 2904 i.e. 64.53 per cent girls), officials and non-officials.
Main Findings of the Study
further reading can be found in the following pdf.Report_Child_Marriage_in_India
Objectives of the Study
Main objectives of the study are as follows
- To assess the prevalence and incidence of child marriages, specially related to the girl child, in the selected states;
- To analyse the various socio-economic and cultural factors leading to child marriage in the selected states;
- To identify variables influencing early marriages and early pregnancy in the selected states;
- To assess the impact of early marriages and early pregnancy on health, education and society at large;
- To review the existing constitutional and legal measures prohibiting child marriage and their enforcement;
- To examine the view perception of parents regarding their values, traditions and attitudes related to early marriage and early pregnancy;
- To examine the role of Child Marriage Prohibition Act 2006 incontrolling the social problem and also to examine the problems, constraints and difficulties in effective enforcement of the Act.
- To suggest measures for effective enforcement of Child Marriage Prohibition Act and addressing the issue of child marriage and early pregnancy.