Every new innovation or a change comes into picture when the past things have certain flaws which restrain from development and improving social life. Same thing happened in above act of 1929 which had various flaws which needed to be improved. Child  marriage restraint act 1929 had various shortcomings which forced government to bring a new act. These were:

The procedures in this act were very time consuming against the act of child marriage which made this act very cumbersome.  There were no authorities assigned for supervising these laws and for giving protection to the child. Because of these flaws the society was continuing the practice of child marriage without any fear and to overcome these flaws the government enacted the new act and that was “ prohibition of child marriage act 2006” which came into effect from 1 November 2007.

This law had a large scope as it was applicable to all the communities of India. This law brought changes where child marriage now became voidable and in some cases void. This law sets various punishments for child marriage and also talks about maintenance of female spouse. In this paper we will look the overview of the act and will critically analyze the failures of the act, punishments and powers of the court.


The key aspects in this paper are:

  • Gender Inequality
  • Social norms
  • Poverty
  • Lack of education
  • Removal of Article 370

Child marriage refers to any formal  marriage or any informal union of child under the age of 18. Child marriage is often the result of Gender Inequality. Mostly girls are affected by this system than to boys. Globally ,the prevalence of child marriage among boy is just 1/6th that among girls .

Child marriage robs [1]girl’s childhood and give threat to their life and health. They face more domestic violence and are less likely to be in the school. And In most of the cases they have economic problems and health problems as well which eventually reflect in the child and thus gives an adverse effect in the Nation’s Health and Education Quality.  And in a way it is a violation of Child Rights. This marriage system is snatching away the childhood of children.

Causes like Gender inequality, social norms, poverty , lack of education ,perceived low status of girls. About 12 million girls are married before 18 yrs. of age every year , that is 23 girls every minute , 1 in every 3 seconds. If pre-pandemic continues 150 million more girls will be married before 2030.[2]Because of Pandemic situation this may increase to 13 million.

A girl who marries before the age of 18 is likely to experience early pregnancy , problems in giving birth to the child , acquire HIV and also experience domestic violence.

Ending Child marriage will improve the health quality in girls and which will eventually also improve the health quality of the nation. Child marriage  directly hinders the growth of at least 6 years of Sustainable Development Goals(SDG). Ending child marriage will result in giving fair chance to girls and more secure future to the nation.

India ranks 4th among 8 south Asian countries in terms of Child Marriage. Which not at all good news to our nation.  Around 48% of Indian girls are married before the age of 18. Child Marriage is currently illegal in India.

A Child marriage depends mostly on girl’s background like if a girl is from rural background or coming from poor background then she has heigh chances of Child Marriage.


It is an analytical research based on various case studies to understand the effectiveness of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and to identify its encounters in its implementation. The research is conducted from the official act as well as from books. The said sources were used and analyzed and interpreted based on the facts.


In order to address the widespread problem of child marriage in India, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) was passed in 2006. Despite governmental efforts to end it, child marriage—defined as the union of a girl under the age of 18 or a guy under the age of 21—remains a serious societal issue in the nation. This study of the literature intends to evaluate the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006’s efficacy by examining various academic papers, studies, and reports pertaining to its implementation and effects on reducing child marriages.

  1. Legislative framework and Policy Analysis: In this section, we’ll examine the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006, its main clauses, and India’s general legal structure with regard to child marriage. The act’s historical context and motivations will also be examined, offering light on the difficulties of tackling child marriage through the legal system.
  2. Enforcement and Administration Challenges: Analyzing the difficulties encountered in putting the PCMA into practice is essential to comprehending its effects on the ground. The topics of law enforcement, institutional capability, stakeholder awareness, and cultural factors that obstruct effective implementation will all be covered in this section.
  3. Legal Remedies and Case Studies: This section will outline legal interventions that have been made in accordance with the 2006 Prohibition of Child Marriage Act through case studies and instances. It will examine the results of court cases, successful convictions, and difficulties encountered in prosecuting perpetrators.

This act contains 21 sections .This act came into existence on 10 January 2007.It extends to the whole India as well as  Jammu and  Kashmir after removing the special status of J&K after government removal of Article 370.This act is irrelevant to state of Pondicherry . State of Pondicherry has different sets of rules regarding this act.

This act is applicable to the Indian who are residing in India as well as Indian who are resident of the India.

The law seeks to   prevent  child marriages by making certain actions punishable and by appointing certain authorities for prevention of child marriage.

  • Child – a male who is not completed the age of 21.

A female who has not completed the age of 18.

  • Child Marriage –  means in marriage either of the contracting party is a child.
  • Minor– means a person who is under the majority act 1875 , is Dean not to have a teen majority.[3]

So, every child marriage solemnized before and after the commencement of this act shall be voidable if the contracting party is a child.

And the petition to annuity discharged marriage can be filed with a degree of annulling in the District Court. It can only be filed by the contracting party who were the child at the time of child marriage. This is the case when an adult is trying to file a suitcase when he was a child and the child marriage was done.

  1. Case law

Saraswati Kumar vs Lokesh Kumar[4]

In this case a minor girl of 13yrs of age abducted . She was abducted by Lokesh a resident of same area. And he is the respondent in this case. And later the respondent(Lokesh) forcibly performed marriage ceremony with the minor with the minor girl as per Hindu Rites. Subsequently another marriage ceremony was done in the presence of the petitioner’s parents.

And later a neighbor saw the petitioner and the respondent’s house and called the child helpline. And later she was rescued and then transferred Swakshatra home for children.

And later Petitioner filed a petition for annulment of the marriage. And the marriage was annulled under section 3 of PMCA.

But when a minor wants to file a suit case then he has to file with the help of any guardian ,friend along with prohibition marriage officer. Petition can be filed under this section any time before the petitioner has (child) completes 2 years of attaining majority.

Example – a girl can file for the petition until the age of 20 yrs. as she completes her majority at the age of 18yrs.

  1. In certain cases, Child Marriage becomes void;
  2. When the child is taken or  enticed out of the keeping of guardian. Example – when a child is given and then told to get married. Because as a child is out of the reach of the reach of the guardian which  in a way makes  the consent part is missing. And without consent a  contract is missing. Forced/compelled to marry by deceitful means.

Example-  at gunpoint forcing a child to get married. As in this case it is not free consent.

And if the consent is not free is not there then it cannot be a valid marriage. Sold for the purpose of marriage / trafficking for immoral purpose. If a minor is married and after that she is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purpose then such marriage shall be null and void.

  1. How a child marriage becomes voidable ?

It happens when the marriage gets degree of nullity. And then the District Court shall order the contracting party to return the other party’s money valuable ornament which the party got at the time of marriage. Are in case those ornaments or gifts are not with them so the party shall have to give the money equivalent to that. So, when the female party is it a minor at the time of child marriage and then the child marriage is going to be nullified. In that situation the male party who was a minor at the time of marriage or his guardian or his parents will have to pay maintenance fee to the female party until she remarries. Maintenance fee decided by the court is decided in regards of lifestyle ,needs, income of the  parties. Diamond can be paid in lump sum manner or in monthly manner. There are situations where in some cases the court has also made some arrangements for the living of the female party until she remarriages.  Because sometimes the female guardian or parents forced child marriage but at the end of the day when she doesn’t want to continue the marriage, she might have some kind of danger form its guardians as well.

  1. In case a Minor Girl marries an Adult and they had a baby

Then the district Court will make appropriate order of the custody of the child. For the welfare of the Girl and child.  In this case welfare and best interest of the child is the main consideration. As at its in early age a child can only have its welfare form its mother. As in early age of the child the natural guardian can  only be  the mother. Because at this early stage of the child the best interest of the child is only best known to its mother.  The court may also give the custody to the other parent or the other party for the best interest of the child. As financial aid is also a very important criteria because at an early stage of minor girl giving birth to the child , that may bring many deceases with it and to cure it or may it in a stable condition financial aid is an important factor or in a situation where the minor girl is of unsound mind then the child may be given to the other responsible party. The child care is important because it will ultimately contribute in  health care of the nation.

The petition can be filed under any District Court in which where defendant or the petitioner resides  or where the solemnization was being done or where parties last recited together or

Petitioner residing currently.

  1. Punishments

In case a male adult who is above 18 years of age  marries a female child then he can be punished with two years of imprisonment or 1 lakh rupees of fine or both. According to the Section 9 of Probation of Children marriage act 2006.

Whoever conducts the marriage or directs it he/she shall also be punished with rigorous imprisonment   which may extend to 2 years and shall be liable to pay 1 lakh rupees of fine  unless he/she proves that he/she had a reason to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage. According to section 10 of Probation of child marriage act 2006.

According to section 11 of Probation of Child Marriage Act, 2006 tells us that any person who is having charge of a child weather a parent or a guardian or any other person in the capacity to take care , member of association an act to promote marriage , permits to be solemnized , fails to prevent form solemnized , attending shall be punishable for imprisonment which may extent to 2 years and also be liable for fine which may extent to 1 lakh of rupees.


Jadish Ram vs State of Uttarakhand[5]

In this case the priest was in the jail and he appealed for the bill with the reason that he had no knowledge of this crime. The people who are being married what child this kind of information was not given to the appellant

Sundai Devi vs St of Uttarakhand

In this the appellant was jailed. Over a crime that she arranged a marriage of a minor girl km Babita. The applicant submitted that she is falsely submitted in the crime. And asked for the bail.

  1. Power of Court

Judicial Magistrate has power under this act that any marriage solemnized / or arranged he can issue injunction to any member to prohibit the marriage or the be considered void immediately.

Recent Development

The Supreme Court in a recent judgement has held that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 does not intend to punish a male aged between 18 and 21 years for marrying a “female adult”.

The case concerned a boy who married a 21-year-old woman when he was 17 years old.

Also, in a recent judgement in Punjab and Haryana High Court that Probation of Child marriage does not differentiate between Religion.

In this case a Muslim runway couple runaway , seeking protection of their life form their family. The girl was 18 yrs. old but the boy was below 21 yrs. of age . As the boy was below legally marriageable age according to Probation of Child Marriage Act. Although asper Muslim law the marriageable age is considered when a person attains the age of Puberty.

However, Probation of child Marriage Act does not differentiate between any religion as regard the commission of any offence punishable under this provision of this act .  Told by Justice Amol Rattan Singh.

However, the court granted protection to the couple. Observing that the male is between 18 to 21 though he is a child and marring to an adult is a child marriage but the male cannot be subjected to child marriage.

HC  relied upon a Supreme  court judgement on the case of Hradev Singh vs Harpreet Kaur. This case tells us that if a girl is above the age of Marriage Act , no offence made under this provision would be made out.

  1. Failures of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006

The prohibition of child marriage act did bring various changes that mad ethe marriage system more systemized. This act filled the various flaws which were present in the past. System amends the act to bring some changes and these changes are made for a reason and a motive and that is to stop child marriages but still it is practiced and day by day the number of marriages is increasing. One flaw which I found in this act is that this act makes the child marriage voidable and not void. Under this the marriage can become void only with the consent of either party. The parties under these are the minors, those minors who are considered immature and whose consent doesn’t matter in various matters. Under IPC section 375 which talks abouts various types of consent under rape does not give importance to the minor girl, under this the minor girl’s marriage doesn’t matter. Children are influenced by their parents and are mainly under the control of their guardians. The main fact which is a bitter reality is that the minor’s consent is not actually  their own consent but their guardian’s consent and therefore their human right is still violates. In short terms “ there is no will but there is a consent”, and therefore this needs to be change because making child marriage voidable does not make any sense.

In Tahara begum vs state of Delhi  a Muslim girl who was 15 years old has a right to give her consent as she crossed the puberty and therefore the marriage cannot become void because here minor herself gave the consent.

The other flaw of this act is the different age criteria of girls(18) and boys(21[6]), with various punishments if this age criteria is not been followed[7]. In various other acts different figures are accepted, for example under Muslim law the minimum age is 15 years. A person either girl or a boy is considered major after the age of 18, which means boy or girl becomes mature enough to take their decision. Then why in the marriages provision the age of boys is not similar to that of girls. We talk about equality then why not the minimum age for marriage be same?

This act  does not follow the reasonable method because by seeing this act it is clear that is  just procedure by which the accused will be punished and does not think about the main reasons of the actual act. Why these parents are practicing child marriage or what pressures are they facing? It’s just like a person doing wrong and punishing him and therefore not going to the root problem that why he is doing such a wrong or what factors are compelling him to do so.

The authority working for resolving the disputes arising related to child marriage are not working efficiently or there is a huge communication gap because as per the National Crime Record Bureau Report of 2011, the number of cases registered under the PCMA are 3,60 and 113 in the years 2009,2010 and 2011 respectively[8].UNICEF ‘s State of the World’s Children-2009 Report for 2009, 47% of India’s women aged 20-24 were married before the legal age of 18, rising to 56% in rural areas[9].The report also showed that 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India[10]. After seeing all these stats, it is clearly seen that the reports are actually not filed and therefore are not reached to the officer or department. Therefore, a proper planning needs to be planned to make the authorities active so that the cases come into the picture.


Practice of Child Marriage has historical roots in India and is still prevalent in India. It is because in India poverty makes people to think that Child Marriage is an economical transaction. And if child marriage is taking place in the society, then it brings many problems in the society like violence , invitation to diseases such as HIV.

  1. It is because our society treats women as a thing which owned by them. Child marriage also hinders nations growth in health perspective. And adding more to misery is that not giving proper education to them. And all these practices of gender norms are making girls and ladies to devalue themselves.
  • There can be many solutions to this problem but the one that I can think of is providing financial incentive to the family of girl for her studies and delay their marriage and this will also make girls independent and self-aware of the situations or problems which they may face. They will also get to know about their rights which will make them to protect themselves.
  • There should be some steps that should be taken by government by providing some policies that strengthen or to support girl child education and empowerment. And policies to protect them as well. And accepting or opening scope of employment for girls. Like in recent we can take the example of NDA.




[2] Child not Brides

[3] Section 2 of Prohibition of Child marriage act

[4] Saraswati Kumar vs Lokesh Kumar 2019 CMA No 2730 of 2016.

[5] Jadish Ram vs State of Uttarakhand  Writ Petition No. (S/S) 1466 of 2011.

[6] Section 2(a), Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006.

[7] Section 9, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006.

[8] National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) Report 2011.


[10] The Hindu (Chennai), 18 January 2009.