Panchayats to be accountable for reporting child marriages

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Acting on a report of Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the Haryana Government has made panchayats accountable for reporting child marriages to eliminate the much-hated social practice.
“The responsibility for reporting child marriages should be fixed on local bodies such as panchayats,” a communication from the Director, Women and Child Department, to various departments said.
The Urban Local Bodies Department, meanwhile, has been asked to make the registration of birth compulsory to determine child’s age. This, the department said, would go a long way in curbing the practice of child marriage.
The department asked the police to promote an atmosphere of security for girls, it batted for stricter laws against molestation and harassment. “The enforcement of laws are essential to promote an atmosphere of safety and security for girls,” the communication said.
“More scholarships and schemes to promote vocational skills among girls are required. This needs particular attention since it has been found that when family resources are low, the education of girls is given a low priority,” it asserted.
The communication reasoned that “increased education and skill building that can provide girls with increased livelihood options should be a priority to curtail child marriages”.
The department underscored the need for conducting training and consciousness-raising programmes for the police and the lower-level judiciary.
Meanwhile, the pre-marriage registration of couples with age proof should be made mandatory for mass marriages. “The mass marriages in a district should not be allowed without intimating the protection-cum-prohibition officers,” it said.
On the need for a follow-up action on children whose marriages have been prohibited, the communication said there was need for regular tracking and follow-up to ensure there was no attempt to marry off these children till they turn 18.
The departments were also provided requisite support for such children’s growth and empowerment. Emotional support and counseling be given to the children and their families, it added.