JAIPUR: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been filed by Jodhpur-based Saarthi Trusts managing trustee Dr Kriti Bharti in the Rajasthan High Court’s Jaipur Bench challenging the constitutional validity of Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which has the provision of registering child marriages in the state.
The Assembly on September 17 passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which has provisions for registration of marriage of a girl below 18 years of age and marriage of a boy below 21 years of age.
In her PIL, Bharti, a rehabilitation psychologist who is internationally renowned for her efforts for annulment and prevention of child marriages, has made the state government, the departments concerned, and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights parties and pleaded for an early hearing.
Bharti, who has annulled 43 child marriages and has stopped more than 1,500 child marriages so far, in her PIL, filed through Supreme Court advocate and Delhi Child Rights Protection Commission former member Shashank Shekhar, argued that through this amendment, the government has tried to give registered recognition to the malpractice of child marriage which is a cognisable offence.
She said that the future consequences of recognition to child marriages will be quite fatal. “To get the government certificate of child marriage, people will come to Rajasthan for a month and will dump their children into child marriages. Due to which, Rajasthan, which has been already famous for years for having the highest prevalence of child marriages in the world, will turn into a child marriage hub by this amendment,” she said.
She also contended that the state government has also misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s 2006 judgment as a reason for passing the amendment.