Follow Up on Child Brides in India

In a previous article, posted by myself in the Sider Press, I spoke about the recent changes to India’s laws involving rape and marriage. As I wrote, ‘This new law states that a man with a wife under the age of fifteen may not engage in sexual intercourse or else he will be charged with a count of rape, along with other charges.’ I recognized that there is still a major problem within India.

The legal age of consent in India is eighteen and the law specifically states that only those aged fifteen and under are protected under the law. But child marriage was made illegal in India in 2006 and yet, in 2017 they had to pass another law involving the protection of child brides. The new law passed contradicts with their other laws due to the age that they chose to include. The legal age of consent is eighteen so it’s confusing to hear that only girls fifteen and under would be protected. It doesn’t add up. Either they need to enforce the illegality of child marriage or change the laws completely so they protect all women; under or over eighteen. Married or not.

There is another Act that contradicts with the new law. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, which was enacted in 2012. It states that minors do not have the right to consent to sex, which would clearly lead to the conclusion that sex with any minor is a crime. It doesn’t matter if a minor happens to be married. If they are married, they are still a minor making them unable to consent legally.

According to ‘girlsnotbrides.org’ the PCMA “establishes punishments for those who do not prevent child marriages and creates Child Marriage Prohibition Officers. It includes a right to annul marriage if underage, but this relies on families to report the act.” If the families are the ones arranging the marriages then why on Earth would  they report their own acts, which they are aware are illegal.