Rajasthan court quashes child marriage

Jaipur, Oct 21 (IANS) A family court in this Rajasthan capital has annulled the child marriage of a girl who was facing a fine and ostracisation by a khap or caste panchayat.

The girl, Santa Devi Meghwal, was married at the age of 11 months. Now 20, she is in the third year

“It is a major victory for Santa Devi Meghwal. Finally, she got justice,” Kriti Bharti, a rehabilitation psychologist and managing trustee of NGO Saarthi Trust, told IANS on on Wednesday

Santa Devi, a resident of Rohicha Khurd village in Jodhpur district, had approached the NGO in for annulling her marriage.

“When the khap panchayat came to know that Santa Devi wants to annul her marriage, they imposed a fine of Rs.16 lakh and ostracised the family,” Bharti said.

The family was being pressurised to obey the panchayat orders or face dire consequences,” Bharti, who represented her as a counsel, said.

“We also counseled Samwalram, her husband. He also appeared before the court and conveyed his acceptance,” Bharti said.

“Even some of the members of the khap panchayat who were against her (Santa Devi) earlier, came in support of her after we counselled them,” Bharti added.

“After completing my studies I want to become a teacher and this decision will certainly help me to achieve my dream,” Santa Devi said.

Every year in Rajasthan, thousands of child marriages are performed especially on “Akshya Tritiya” or “Akha Teej”, considered auspicious by Hindus.

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