Bangalore: A comprehensive action plan would be drawn up to plug loopholes in effectively preventing child marriages in Karnataka, where an alarming 45 percent of girl children enter into wedlock.
A core committee under Chairmanship of retired Supreme Court Judge Shivaraj V Patil, set up by the state government to prepare this plan, has commenced its work and held a day-long consultation today, inviting suggestions and recommendations from the participants.
Quoting the Karnataka Human Development Report 2005, Patil noted that the data on child marriage is "very disturbing" in nine northern districts of Karnataka, where an alarming 45 per
cent to 68 percent of children are married off.
The state`s average is estimated to be around 45 percent, officials said.
The committee`s main objectives are: to create awareness on consequences of child marriage on overall development of girl child; to analyse the existing constitutional and legal measures against child marriage; to analyse the situation and provide suggestive strategies to prevent child marriage.
Other objectives are to expose the extent to which the practice is in vogue, suggest ways to eradicate the practice from society and also prevent it to the extent possible.
Patil indicated that the Committee may moot suitable action against doctors giving false age certificate and "prominent personalities" attending mass child marriages.
The core committee would undertake field visits in the next two months to districts where incidence of child marriage is very high and hold intense discussions with enforcement
officers and various stakeholders to understand the problems.
It would critically look into the prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and the State Rules 2008 to provide recommendation for amendment/law reform. Procedures would be put in place for the implementation of mass marriages and compulsory registration of marriages in the State such that no child is victimised.
"We will consider all enactments", Patil said. "We will have an integrated approach. We will submit the action plan in the stipulated six months, and will not seek an extension".
The committee was set up by the Government following a direction by the High Court to prepare an action plan to implement the 2006 act effectively.