Following the footprint of some of the districts that made it mandatory for invitation printers to provide the dates of births of the brides and grooms on the cards, the Karnataka government is set to implement the same idea in a number of other districts too to curb child marriages.
The idea was discussed on Monday at a state-level consultation on curbing child marriages. It was organised by World Vision, jointly with Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Unicef, Bosco and Kristu Jayanathi College at Students' Christian Movement of India house.
Incidentally, the idea was discussed with people who want to put an end to child marriage. Rohini Hiremath, deputy director, child marriage prohibition cell, state women and child development said, "The idea was discussed by people who are working to put an end to child marriages in Karnataka. Some districts, including Koppal, Raichur and Davanagere have already implemented this. We will ask more districts to follow the same."
According to a report by the Times of India, though the orders were passed in 2014, it had significantly impacted the rate of child marriages in Koppal, said Harish Jogi, who is looking after the project from the UNICEF in the district. According to the regulation, the order asks printers to verify the age of the bride and the groom with the help of their birth certificate and radiology report before printing them on the cards. However, if they fail to adhere to the norms, they would face a penalty of Rs 1 lakh and up to two years in prison as per the rules.
Analysing the situation and the working conditions of the households in rural regions, the experts agreed that the steps have been taken in the right direction. Most often than not, the girls are married off at an early age because of lack of toilet facilities, lack of education, poverty and fear of leaving the child alone when both the parents are working. Dr Kripa Amar Alva, chairperson of KSCPCR said, "Karnataka accounts for 23.2% of child marriages in the country . The practice is prevalent in almost all districts. We need strong framework of policies to ensure the safety of girl children."