Bhubaneswar: Following the Orissa High Court’s intervention in the issue of child marriages conducted by some institutions, the Women and Child Development (W&CD) department has directed the district Collectors to take steps to check the practice.
The W&CD department, in its letter to the Collectors, has asked them to inquire about the institutions conducting child marriages.
The department said, “Enquire about the unregistered institutions in your district which are conducting child marriages or any marriage in a manner contrary to law and issuing certificates. Furnish information to this department within three days positively on this for further communication with the Revenue department.”
The department has informed the Collectors that in a recent case heard in the HC it was found that a society was conducting marriages of minor girls in Gandharba form under Hindu Law and was also issuing marriage certificates.
The court disposed of the case observing that marriages conducted by such an institution could not be legalised. The HC also observed that no registered society had been notified to function as the Registrar of Hindu Marriage Act and Rules.
Child rights activists welcomed the move of the government asking the Collectors to act against such institutions. Activists claimed that such a move could act as a deterrent to organisations patronising child marriages.