The legal age for marriage for girls in India in 2023 is 18 years old. This is according to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 1929, which was amended in 1978 to raise the legal age of marriage for girls from 15 to 18 years old.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act was enacted to prevent child marriage and protect the rights of children. Child marriage is defined as a marriage where one or both of the spouses are below the legal age of marriage. Child marriage is harmful to children because it deprives them of their education, employment opportunities, and their right to choose their own partner.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act makes it an offense to solemnize or participate in a child marriage. The punishment for child marriage is imprisonment for up to three years, or a fine of up to Rs. 10,000, or both.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act also makes it an offense to abet a child marriage. Abetting a child marriage includes providing financial assistance, accommodation, or other support for a child marriage. The punishment for abetting a child marriage is the same as the punishment for solemnizing a child marriage.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act is an important law that protects the rights of children. However, child marriage is still a problem in India. According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21), 24% of women aged 20-24 years in India were married before the age of 18.
There are a number of factors that contribute to child marriage in India. These factors include poverty, gender inequality, and lack of education. Poverty can lead to child marriage because parents may feel that they cannot afford to raise a daughter into adulthood. Gender inequality can lead to child marriage because girls are often seen as a burden to their families. Lack of education can lead to child marriage because girls who are not educated are more likely to be married off at a young age.
The government of India is taking a number of steps to address the problem of child marriage. These steps include:
- Raising the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years old.
- Providing education to girls.
- Empowering women and girls.
- Raising awareness about the harmful effects of child marriage.
It is important to note that child marriage is a violation of the human rights of children. It is important to work together to end child marriage and create a better future for our children.
Here are some additional things that can be done to prevent child marriage:
- Empower girls and women. Girls and women need to be empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, including their education, employment, and marriage.
- Educate girls. Education is essential for girls to be able to make informed decisions about their lives. Education also helps girls to reach their full potential and contribute to society.
- Change social norms. Social norms that support child marriage need to be changed. People need to be educated about the harmful effects of child marriage and encouraged to support girls and women.
- Enforce laws against child marriage. The laws against child marriage need to be enforced effectively. This will help to deter people from solemnizing or participating in child marriages.
It is important to work together to end child marriage and create a better future for our children.
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