The Telegraph
Monday , September 17 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Child marriage case in HC

Cuttack, Sept. 16: A PIL filed in Orissa High Court has sought its intervention in an alleged case of “forcible and unlawful child marriage” involving a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl of two neighbouring villages in Puri district.

Harshamani Sahoo, 40, from Kalapadara in the Gadishagoda police station limits has alleged that her son, Sanjaya, has been forcibly married to a girl from Paikamara.

Some people from both the villages had threatened to banish her family and later forcibly got both the children married.

“As both the boy and the girl have not attained marriageable age, marrying at this age is punishable under Section 5 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act,” the PIL contends.

The Committee for Legal Aid to Poor, a Cuttack-based legal advocacy group which filed the PIL on Harshamani’s behalf, has sought direction for a crime branch inquiry into the case, while alleging inaction of local police and the Puri superintendent of police.

The alleged forcible child marriage had taken place, as the police did not act promptly on Harshamani’s complaint against confinement of her son, the petitioner alleged. The PIL has been listed for hearing, but is yet to come up before the assigned court.

The petitioner alleged that the perpetrators had caused a forcible and unlawful child marriage moved scot-free and the police, particularly inspector in charge of Gadishagoda police station and the Puri superintendent of police, did not show any inclination to arrest the guilty.

“Such inaction of police in a sensitive issue shall not only promote this type of offence in the society, but also add fuel to the societal disorder. On the other hand, the life of my son has been apparently spoiled because of such unlawful act of some villagers of my village (Kalapadara) and some villagers of Paikamara,” the petitioner contends.

The petition stated that one Alekh Mohapatra of Paikamara had, in his recorded statement to the police, stated that he, along with his co-villagers, had carried out the alleged child marriage at the local Tarini temple.

After the marriage both boy and girl were left at the petitioner’s house.

Seven days later, on March 12, the police claimed to have rescued both the boy and girl and without producing before any magistrate, registered a case of rape against the boy.

The sub-divisional judicial magistrate rejected the boy’s bail application and forwarded him to the juvenile home at Berhampur.

He was released on bail in June, the petition said.