Recent session of the Parliament introduced Prohibition of Child Marriage amendment Bill 2021. This Bill enhanced the age for marraige of girls from 18 to 21 years. The bill, like any other laws received both for and against debates.
Considering the currently existing matter of Education and Health of a female, the bill indeed is welcoming. But there exists several other factors questioning the integrity of the bill. By Increasing theage of marriage from 18 to 21, the bill aims at lowering the maternal mortality and infant mortality rate in india along emphasising women education. It is said that the early marriage among girls are leading to teenage pregnancies. The lack of nutrition among girls have led to both child and mother losing their lives in the process of delivery.
But is it early marriage which brings in malnutrition? What is it that is leading to malnutrition? Will stopping an early marriage wipe out the malnutrition level in india? The answer is a big no. What needs to be understood is, It is existing poverty that is pushing the mass into malnutrition. In most of the cases, it’s once again the poverty which further strains a girl in the strangle of early marriages. And so marriage is not a root cause for deteriorated women health but malnutrition caused poverty is.
An emphasis on female marriage is high when the household is in the clutches of poverty. We the society in whole have tried to connect marriage and education on the same line. Women are generally facilitated with formal education until they are married. With the Child Marriage amendment bill it seems like it is a statutory way to interlink women education with her marriage. Women’s education currently has turned out to be marriage-oriented rather than goal-oriented. She is sent to school and college because she cannot be married off before 18. The bill will encourage the continuity of this social phenomenon rather bringing in reforms in persuasion of women education.
Article 21A of the Constitution enshrines the Right to free and compulsory education. One needs to understand that if education is something which ends with schooling then that was not worth the gain. There is a need of a society where marriage is no more a hindrance to education. Education must turn out to be part and parcel of every individual’s life. Either married or unmarried should not be a criteria in attaining the formal education.
Marriage is a civil right of an individual. Getting married or no is completely one’s choice. And so, we in india are in need of a law which brings in socio-marital reform based on ‘progressive realisation’. A reform which will no more accuse ‘marriage as a barrier for education’ nor accuse ‘Education as an interruption for one’s marriage’ is the need of the hour.
Image by Pixabay