Odisha Child Rights Panel Opposes Move To Raise Marriage Age Of Girls

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

The Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) has divergent the union government’s move to raise the minimum legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years.

According to the reports, the OSCPCR has proposed to bring down the minimum marriage age of men to 18. Sandhyabati Pradhan, OSCPCR chairperson wrote to the chairperson of Parliament Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth & Sports, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in this regard. Pradhan said “That change of legislation in isolation will never be able to stop child marriage unless there is the socio-behavioural change among the parents and community. Factors like distress and poverty, patriarchal norms and practices, lack of opportunity for schooling, employment and the like are still contributing in a large extent to the prevalence of child marriage. There is also a need to strengthen families by providing appropriate livelihood opportunities.”

She later pointed out that the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act and schemes like Integrated Child Protection Scheme have the scope to extend support to such vulnerable children only up to the age of 18. In such circumstances, there will be no space to provide support to a child bride/groom between the age of 19 to 21 if rescued from child marriage.

She later requested that the Committee consider not raising the legal age of marriage of girls to 21, rather keeping 18 as the minimum legal age for both boys and girls.

The Centre introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha on December 21, 2021, which was later sent to the Parliamentary panel led by Sahasrabuddhe for review.


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