Srinagar- The Jammu & Kashmir Government has finalised prohibition of child marriage rules in an attempt to discourage underage marriages.
The administration has unveiled the Jammu and Kashmir Prohibition of Child Marriage Rules, 2023 nearly four years after the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 became applicable to the Union Territory.
The Rules state that officers of different departments shall act as child marriage prohibition officers under the law within their respective jurisdiction.
As per Rules, chief medical officer, chief education officer, assistant commissioner (panchayat), block medical officer, block development officer, assistant labour commissioner, district social welfare officer, child development protection officer, tehsildar, naib-tehsildar and zonal education officer shall act as child marriage prohibition officers within their respective jurisdictions.
According to the Rules, it shall be the duty of every child marriage prohibition officer to act immediately upon any information of solemnization of any child marriage that may be received through any mode of communication including written or oral.
He/ she should produce the child whose marriage is expected to be solemnised or child victim of child marriage before the child welfare committee constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2016 and Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2021.
These officers are also required to furnish quarterly return and statistics to the district magistrate concerned and the directorates of social welfare Jammu/ Kashmir.
According to the Rules, it shall be their duty to file petition for annulling a child marriage in district court in case any of the contracting party to the marriage is a minor.
The Rules further state that the district magistrate shall ensure that in every Panchayat, a committee c is constituted to assist the child marriage prohibition officer in obtaining information about such child marriages, in prevention of such ceremonies and in annulling of such marriages. As per these rules, that it shall be the duty of local priests of any religion bestowed with the solemnization of marriages, to inform the child marriage prohibition officer of her/ his area about the likelihood of such child marriages and shall refrain from solemnizing such marriages with a view to prevent such instances of child marriage
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