Case filed to counter the Social Evil of Child Marriage
Devika Biswas Vs. State of Bihar & Ors.
The petitioner along with a team of activists visited Gaya District Bihar from August 8th to 18th 2014 (Annexure – 1) during this trip they spoke to teachers, Govt. health Facility workers, local officials and women about the prevalence of child marriage in the area and the implementation o the prohibition of child marriage Act 2006 (PCMA). According to the 3rd. District Level House Hold Survey (DLHS-III) Bihar has the highest child marriage incidence of any state in the country at 68.2%. Gaya has one of the highest district level incidences of child marriage with an alarming 83.8% at the women marrying before the legal age. That through interviews across Gaya, the fact finding team were able to verify these statistics, finding that in most villages they visited almost every girl was married before the legal age. The level of awareness of the provisions of the Act, as well as who is responsible for its implementation was shockingly low, among community members as well as those who are responsible for its implementation was shockingly low among community members as well as even among government officials. The team found the main causes of child marriage to be poverty, lack of education, persisting social customs and poor government implementation of the Act. Further, there are several reports of the International and National Agencies to establish that Bihar is the worst hit by the cases of Child Marriages as here it is practiced most particularly, in Gaya.
The case is pending and the High Court has directed the State Government to file its response and to implement the Supreme Court Guidelines passed in its different cases related to prohibition of Child marriages. During the hearing of the case the High Court also directed the Registrar, Patna High Court to take steps in accordance with the Judgment passed by the Apex Court in the Devika Biswas’ mass Sterilization PIL.
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