Laws to control, restrain, prohibit and prevent child marriages have existed in India since 1929. It will be 100 years of child marriage law in India in 2029! Hence,
While the first law, Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, prescribed 14 years as the age of marriage for girls it was further amended to raise the age to 15 years in 1940. The evolving realization that the physical and mental maturity is attained at the age of 18 years, was reflected when age of marriage was made to 18 years through the 1978 amendment. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA) came in 2006, and repealed the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 and provides the minimum age of 18 years for marriage for a girl.
The fight against such harmful yet culturally accepted practice has remained ineffective for many reasons including patriarchy. Marriage is still seen as the “ultimate settlement for girls”. Significantly the lack of State accountability and ambiguity in different laws for vulnerable children provide scope to sustain such human rights violative practices of girl children.