Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A long awaited answer

A confusion which has been perplexing courts and leading to confused judgments for the past five decades, the governments seems to have finally woken up to the fact that the range of laws dealing with children in India, do not actually agree on the definition of a 'child' - the consequence - the menace of child marriage cannot be properly controlled or punished, marital rape above 15 but less than 16, technically the age of statutory rape, remains legal, and dangerous delinquents perfectly capable of understanding the consequences of their actions have been going scot - free under the JJ Act. But now, there appears to be a movement to make the definition of child across all these laws 'uniform'

"Centre to examine anomalies in definition of child: SC told New Delhi, Aug 3 (PTI) The Centre today told the Supreme Courtthat it was examining the issue of removing the anomalies in thedefinition of a child in various existing laws which were comingin way of checking the menace of child marriage. It said the Child Marriage Restraint Act has been repealed withthe new law and the issue has been taken care of. "I have recieved some documents and I will go through them and filean appropriate response," Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingsaid before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and A K Ganguly which adjourned the matter for four weeks. During the hearing, advocate Aparna Bhat said the new legislation The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, which got the President's assent in Janaury 2007, did not completely address the concern over child marriage. Earlier last year, the apex court was told that the Law Commissionwas examining anomalies in the definition of child in various existing laws. The National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women had said there were anomalies in the definition of child. They contended that the variance in age in different Acts to define a 'minor' or a 'child' was coming in the way of dispensationof justice, particularly in cases of girls below 18 years marrying after eloping with adult male"

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