The Orissa High Court, acting upon a PIL filed by Clap Legal Service Institute president Dr Bikash Das, on Saturday directed the Government of Odisha to consider declaring all child marriages void ab initio.
The HC directed the Government further that a representation made by Dr Das in this regard earlier to it be considered within four weeks.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 was enacted by the Parliament repealing the age old Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. Since the colonial law did not work in eradicating child marriage in the country, the new law was enacted.
However, the new law like previous Act did not make all child marriages void and only in certain cases like trafficking for marriage, etc., a marriage can be declared void.
Realising the legal issue of void and voidable marriages, the Government of Karnataka amended its law making all child marriages void in the State as per the recommendation of former Judge of Supreme Court Justice Sivraj V Patil.
Dr Das, in July , had approached the Odisha Government to follow Karnataka and make a State amendment of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 to make all child marriages void. However, the representation of Dr Das was not considered.
On behalf of the petitioner Advocates Dr Binod Kumar Mishra, Jashmin Mall, Bijaya Kumar Mishra, Chandradev Purohit and Priyanka Ojha argued the case before the court.