Rajasthan teenager moves court to annul her child marriage


A court here on Friday issued notice on the plea of a 17-year-old girl
who had sought the annulment of her "marriage" conducted when she was only three. 

Family court judge Rekha Bhargava issued a notice to the said-to-be husband, directing him to appear before the court in a month's time.

Sarita said her purported in-laws and the local community and village leaders were pressuring her to go to her husband's place.

She and her mother, who is a widow, were initially terrified but gathered courage to approach Kriti Bharti, a rehabilitation psychologist and managing trustee of NGO Saarthi Trust, who advised them to challenge the child marriage.

"I do not accept the marriage. I want to study and want to have a career. For the annulment of my child marriage, I have filed a petition with the help of Kriti didi. I am very much hopeful that I will get justice soon," Sarita said in a statement.

A resident of Sunthala region in Jodhpur, she was married off to Mahender alias Gogi, a resident of Partapnagar in the same district in September 2003 by her father who was being pressurised by community members.

Soon after the marriage, her father died.

Later, the in-laws started putting pressure on Sarita's mother to send her to their home but both refused, saying that they do not accept the child marriage.

The girl says both she and her mother suffered tremendous mental torture due to continuous pressure and ill treatment by her ostensible in-laws.

When they could not take the pressure, the girl contacted Bharti and with her help, approached court.

"Sarita was under tremendous pressure by her in-laws mentally and was in a state of depression. For the annulment of her child marriage, a petition has been filed in the court," said Bharti.

Saarthi Trust has so far annulled 32 child marriages in India and also prevented thousands of them. - IANS