President gives assent to Karnataka Child Marriage Bill
Though child marriage has been banned in India for a long time, the social menace has still not been eradicated. As cases and incidents related to it continue to be reported from different parts of the country.
Among other states, Karnataka has a dismal record when it comes to cases of this type. But this might soon change, with the President of India giving the go ahead for the new law that the state wants to introduce to eliminate the existence of such an evil.
The new amended, Prohibition of Child Marriage (Karnataka amendment) Bill, 2016, which aims to give broader powers to the states police machinery to deal with such cases as well as increase the penalty for child marriage has been given assent by President Pranab Mukherjee.
This is especially good news for Karnataka which, according to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, ranks among the states with the highest percentage of child marriages in the southern part of the country and according to a survey 23.2 per cent of such cases are reported from the state.
As per reports, the bill has been pending with the Centre according to home ministry officials. The state assembly had last amended it in 2016 and had sent it for the President's approval. Bills from states are sent to the home ministry which after consultation with other central ministries, forwards the bill to the Presidents secretariat for assent.
The state government amended the act based on the recommendations made by a 2011 committee under the former Supreme Court judge Shivaraj V Patil and seeks to create a zero tolerance level towards child marriages.
According to reports, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had been urging the union government to pass the bill in order to help eradicate child marriage, which is seen as a social evil, from the state in the next few years. State officials claim that the percentages of child marriages have come down from 41.2 per cent in 2005 to 23,2 per cent in 2016. As per reports, officials have also said that northern parts of the state such as Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and the surrounding districts report the majority of such cases.