The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 authorises state governments to frame rules as envisaged under the Act.
A total of 619 cases of child marriage were registered under the PCMA in 2015 and 2016. The highest number of such cases during the period was reported from Tamil Nadu (132) followed by Karnataka (86), the minister said.
Child marriages are valid in the country, but can be annulled if a case is filed in a district court by either of the two contracting parties within two years of becoming an adult, or through a guardian in case of minors.
The Women and Child Development Ministry seeks to amend Section 3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 under which a child marriage is only voidable at the option of the contracting parties.
The legal age for marriage in the country is 18 for a woman and 21 for a man.
According to UNICEF, India saw a sharp decline in child marriages over the last 10 years with 27 per cent of girls getting married before their 18th birthday as against
47 per cent a decade ago.
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