The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arunachal girl ‘freed’ from child marriage

Itanagar, Dec. 12: A sessions judge in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kurung Kumey district has ruled in favour of a Class XII girl who had moved court asking to be freed from her marriage.

The girl, Yumbam Yaku, was married off as a child to Bengia Kami in return for a bride price in the form of mithuns, cows and pigs, according to tribal practice.

Child marriages are common in Arunachal Pradesh.

Determined to chart her own destiny, Yaku managed to study up to Class XII and moved court for her release from “bondage”.

In his verdict, sessions judge Repo Ronya observed that the girl was not a party to the betrothal agreement as neither her consent was sought nor was she in a position to give consent at the time of her wedding.

The court was also of the opinion that marriage could not be solemnised against the will of one of the concerned parties, citing the provisions of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.

The verdict was given on December 7.

The district administration has now providedYaku with shelter after the state women’s commission handed her over, sources said today.

A noted lawyer of the region, Hafiz Rashid Choudhury, said the judgment was significant as seldom is a marriage declared void. The child marriage act has provisions for punishment but not cancellation of marriage. He, however, said the consent of the party concerned was necessary for solemnising the marriage.

“Generally, if one of the parties is not in a position to give consent, the guardian gives the same on his or her behalf. But it should be ratified by the child when he/she attains adulthood,” he added.

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