The Campaign against Child Marriage (CACM) an initiative of Independent Thought, since 2013, has been demanding State Accountability to address this issue through its belief that it is possible to end child marriage by adopting a Mission Mode..
CACM is working in a mission mode to end child marriages by 2029 through an accountable state and an effective legal and institutional mechanism to protect girl children from the menace of forced, early child marriage.
Independent Thought Judgement Discussed In The Parliament Of India
As part of the ongoing Campaign Against Child Marriage (CACM) we were instrumental in historic judgment by the Supreme Court of India on 11 October 2017 (the International Girl Child Day) in the matter Independent Thought vs. Union of India (W.P. Civil 382 of 2013) where the Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which allowed marital rape within child marriages, was read down. The apex court ruled the "Exception in rape law is discriminatory, capricious and arbitrary... It violates the bodily integrity of the girl child. If a man has sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18 years, it will be an offence of rape. The minor wife can complain against the husband within one year". Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Smriti Irani, while introducing the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, 21 December, quoted the landmark Supreme Court judgment, Independent Thought vs. UOI [(2017) 10 SCC 800] declaring Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 as a Secular legislation.
CACM is working since 2013 to strengthen the state accountability towards total elimination of Child Marriage in India through effective legal and institutional mechanisms.CACM believes that Child Marriage (CM) includes all forms of early and forced marriages. Law Reform and effective implementation is a very critical part for ending child marriages. Below are non-negotiable elements in all cases of CM:
The need is for a widespread action on a campaign mode focusing on the following, among others:
Child marriage is a pure rights violation of children, especially girl children.
The right to free and compulsory education should be extended beyond 14 years to cover children upto 18 years of age in neighborhood schools.
The state has a clear role in ensuring a law and order situation by protecting children from being married off in the fear of insecurity of girls in an unprotected society.
CACM has been working with concerned stakeholders at various levels since its inception to review existing laws and policies concerning girl children and adolescent girls, with a particular focus on child marriage. CACM's vertical efforts from the grassroots and engagement with the community at various levels. Independent Thought / CACM has organized round tables and consultations at the state level, as well as advocating for law reform at the national level.
The landmark Independent Thought decision also sparked a special interest in law reform as a catalyst for change in the fight to end child marriage beyond India. Independent Thought / Campaign Against Child Marriage has successfully engaged people, student and lawyers on the issue. There has been a lot of media attention and there is a lot of research being done at various leading universities.