Stop underage wedding: Mentioning age made mandatory in marriage cards in MP

Mentioning age of bride and groom in the marriage card has been made mandatory by the woman and child welfare department, who issued an order in this regard on April 12.

Pointing out that mass marriages take place on Akshay Tritiya, which falls on Wednesday, the Madhya Pradesh women and child development department has asked all district collectors to instruct the printing press owners to mention the age of the bride and bridegroom or declare that they have attained legal marriageable age.

WCD commissioner Jayshree Kiyawat issued an order after Union Ministry of Women and Child Development sent a letter to chief secretary to take appropriate action to stop the child marriage on the auspicious occasion of Akshya Tritya.

The State women and child development department has also asked the chief medical health officers to verify the age of girls who are getting married on that day and also take permission from the child welfare committee in case of any suspicion about their marriageable age.

WCD joint director Rachna Budholiya said, “This for the first time that we have joined Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 with Juvenile Justice Act 2015 to take strict action against the wrongdoers. According to Juvenile justice Act, the doctors can’t perform bone ossification test with consent of the CWC.”

If a person is found guilty of solemnizing underage marriage the action will be taken according to Juvenile Justice Act too said Budholiya.

Apart from printing press, caterers, cook, religious guru, band owners, transporters and marriage garden owners have also been asked to check the age of the bride and groom before giving their services, or they too might be booked, the order has warned.

Bhopal collector Sudam P Khade said, “We have instructed both printing machine owners and parents to mention the age of the groom and bridegroom after getting a valid identity card from them. We will take action, if they fail to do so.”

Different teams of WCD, district administration, police and doctors will inspect the mass marriages function to check child marriage.