New Delhi, Apr 14: The Supreme Court has directed the Ministry of Women and Child Development to file a status report regarding the steps taken by the Centre to implement the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala asked the Union government to collate data from various states on the issue and file a report before it. The apex court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Society for Enlightenment and Voluntary Action contending that girls below 18 years of age are being married off despite child marriages being outlawed almost a century ago and a new law enacted in 2006.
The plea alleged that prohibition officers under the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act are not being appointed to enforce the ban because of which the practice is still prevalent.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Madhavi Divan, appearing for Centre, submitted that there was a Bill which was pending before the Standing Committee since 2021 as per which the age of women to get married was to be raised to 21 years.
Noting that the Bill would still not address the issue of implementation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, the bench directed the Ministry to file a report on steps taken to implement the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
It asked the government to file an updated status report on the number of child marriages performed in various States and the action taken.