‘Rise in foeticide, unwed moms: Odisha baby rights panel opposes marriage age legislation

‘Rise in foeticide, unwed moms: Odisha baby rights panel opposes marriage age legislation


BHUBANESWAR: Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) has opposed the proposed legislation to boost the wedding age for girls to 21, saying it’ll create a brand new set of issues reminiscent of a rise in cases of foeticide and unwed moms. The fee chairperson additionally stated it’ll depart individuals rescued from baby marriages within the 19-21 age group within the lurch as present legal guidelines solely help susceptible youngsters as much as the age of 18 years.

“Acts like Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act and schemes like Integrated Child Protection Scheme have scope to extend support to vulnerable children only up to the age of 18. In such circumstances, there will be no space to provide support to a child bride or groom between the age of 19 to 21 if rescued from child marriage,” Sandhyabati Pradhan, who leads Odisha’s baby rights panel, stated in a letter to Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe, chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on schooling, ladies, youngsters, youth and sports activities that’s analyzing the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Pradhan additionally underlined that legal guidelines such because the baby intercourse abuse legislation, Pocso solely bars consensual intercourse as much as the age of 18. “This implies that someone may have sexual act after 18 but won’t be able marry till 21 which will create new sets of issues like increasing unwed mothers and foeticide thereafter,” she stated in her letter.

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Pradhan underlined that change of laws in isolation won’t ever be capable of cease baby marriages until there’s socio-behavioural change amongst mother and father and neighborhood.

“The National Crime Record Bureau data says that only 785 cases have been registered under Prohibition of Child Marriage in 2020 which is 523 in 2019 and 501 in 2018. On the other hand, 23.3% girls are marrying before the legal age as captured by NFHS-5 (National Family and Health Survey),” she stated.

Pradhan stated elements reminiscent of misery and poverty, patriarchal norms and practices, lack of alternative for education, employment and the like are nonetheless contributing to the prevalence of kid marriage to a big extent. “There is also a need to strengthen families by providing appropriate livelihood opportunity,” she stated.

OSCPCR, a statutory physique, is a key stakeholder of the state authorities is spearheading the marketing campaign to finish baby marriage within the state by 2030. A excessive energy committee on the state has been fashioned to facilitate the method.

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