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Now we have a new legislation called "Juvenile & Justice Act, 2015" replacing the JJ Act of 2000. In this new act, adoption has assumed a significant importance with an exclusive chapter. Subscribe and follow this blog for more information in the days to come.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Conflict of two laws (Child Marriage Act) & (Sexual Offenses Act)

Last month parliament passed a bill (waiting for the President's signature) called "Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (PCSOA)" and in it it states the legal age to consent to engage in sexual activities as 18.  But this seem directly in conflict with "Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA)".  Allow me to explain:
PCMA in section 3 states the following:

3. (I) Every child marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party who was a child at the time of the marriage:

Provided that a petition for annulling a child marriage by a decree of nullity may be filed in the district court only by a contracting party to the marriage who was a child at the time of the marriage.

What the above section of PCMA is saying is that if a minor (18) is married and he/ she doesn't ask for it to be annulled, it is a valid marriage.  On the other hand PCSOA is saying that any person below the age of 18 cannot give a legal consent to indulge in sexual activities.

Let's use an example to understand it:  If two teenagers below the age of 18 are married on their own will (and didn't complain), they can be prosecuted (in Juvenile & Justice Board) under PCSOA but under the PCMA it is a valid marriage.  That means their marriage on paper may not break but in reality they can serve time separately for it.

Child marriage in itself may not be a crime under PCSOA but if the girl gets pregnant then there's a proof of indulgence in sexual activities (even though girl didn't complain), they can be charged under PCSOA.  Boy will be sent to JJB and the girl to Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

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