Friday, January 26, 2007

SC directs the government to prevent child marriages

The Supreme Court has issued a directive to the government authorities to strictly implement the punishment provision under the Marriage Chapter of Civil Code (Muluki Ain) 1963 to control child marriage.

Acting upon a writ petition filed by a group of advocates including Prakash Mani Sharma of Pro Public, an NGO, special bench of Justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Sharada Shrestha and Balram KC issued the verdict.

“Effectively implement the punishment provision under this chapter,” the bench ordered. The bench also directed the government authorities—the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare—to amend the provision and to launch awareness programme against child marriages. The bench also ordered to adopt advices given by study teams in this regards, reports said.

The bench also scrapped Sub-section 9 of Section 2 under the Marriage Chapter which states that a person can move court only after attaining 18 years of age if he or she knot ties under the age of 18 and wants to null and void the marriage.

The 1963 code has prohibited marriage under the age of 18 without the consent of their guardian.

If anyone less than 10s year old got married, their guardians may face up to 3 years jail sentence and up to Rs 10,000 fine.

Guardians will face up to one year jail term if the age of bride or groom is between 10 to 14 years and guardian may face up to six months jail term and up to Rs 10,000 fine if a 14 to 18 years old person gets married.

Priest and other aides of such illegal marriage may face up to one moth jail sentence or Rs 1,000 fine on charge of encouraging such illegal marriage as per section 2 of the Marriage Chapter

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