Odisha Child Rights Commission Writes To Parliament Standing Committee Opposing Girls’ Marriage Age Raise

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Bhubaneswar: Opposing the Centre’s decision to increase the minimum legal age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21 years, the Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) has recommended in favour of bringing down the minimum marriage age for men to 18.

In a letter to Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the Chairperson of Parliament Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth & Sports, Chairperson of OSCPCR, Sandhyabati Pradhan said, “Change of legislation in isolation will never be able to stop child marriage unless there is the socio-behavioural change among the parents and community. Factors like distress and poverty, patriarchal norms and practices, lack of opportunity for schooling, employment and the like are still contributing in a large extent in the prevalence of child marriage.”

“Act like POCSO has restricted consensual sex up to the age of 18. This implies that someone may have sexual act after 18 but won’t be able to marry till 21. This will create new sets of issues like increasing unwed mothers and foeticide thereafter,” the Commission chief noted in her letter.

She further requested the Committee to consider recommending more accountability of the state towards building an enabling environment where the girls can dare to fulfil their desires which will build courage within them to say no to child marriage.

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