New Delhi: In recent data published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the nation has logged 50% surge in child marriage cases in 2020.
According to NCRB data, a total of 785 cases were registered under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in year 2020.
Karnataka registered highest number of cases amounting to 184, followed by Assam at 198, West Bengal at 98, Tamil Nadu at 77, and Telangana at 62.
In 2019, 523 child marriages were recorded in files while in 2018, the data stood at 501.
According to the experts, rise in child marriage cases may be due to increased reporting of the incident.
According to Indian laws, child marriage is a marriage in which either the woman is below the age of 18 or the man is below the age of 21.
Talking about the factors behind the rise in child marriage, Roop Sen, Founding Member of Sanjog, one of the NGOs which is a part of the Indian Leadership Forum Against Trafficking, a national platform by and for the survivors of human trafficking said, “It is a mix of both increased reporting and instances. There have been increased incidences of adolescents girls falling in love and eloping and getting married that also contribute to increased number of child marriages.”
Further, he added, “Many grassroot organisations say a distinction must be made on child marriages and child led marriages. These phenomena are very different. In a number of cases of elopement, POCSO is invoked.”
Talking about the impact of Covid-19 on child marriages, UNICEF revealed that India is among 5 countries that account for more than half of child marriage cases in the world.
According to UNICEF, the earth is home to large number of child brides accounting for a third of the global total. It estimates that at least 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 are married every year.