Congratulatory messages on Facebook help in annulment of minor girl's marriage in Rajasthan

Jodhpur: A family court on Monday annulled a child marriage, with Facebook coming to the rescue of a girl who was only 12 when her wedding was solemnised seven years ago.

Both the girl and the boy were minors in 2010 when the marriage took place, a child rights activist said.

The boy's Facebook account provided evidence that helped in proving that the couple was married, said Kriti Bharti, the Managing Trustee of Saarthi Trust, a child rights non-profit organisation.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The girl had moved a petition in the court in 2016, seeking the annulment of her marriage, said Bharti, who argued the case from the girl's side.

The girl's family members had been preparing for her 'gauna' (sending of the bride to her in-laws) last year and had discontinued her studies, she said.

The girl, who was unable to convince her parents against the marriage, left her home in April 2016, after informing Bharti.

Bharti rescued her and accommodated her in a child home after taking her custody from the Bal Kalyan Samiti of Barmer.

The child rights activist said that after her accommodation in the child home, a petition was moved in the family court, seeking the annulment of the girl's marriage with her husband.

"But in the court, (the husband) refused that there was solemnisation of the marriage between them and said that it was just a preparation for the engagement," Bharti said.

Facebook helped in proving that the girl's husband was lying in the court, she said.

Bharti collected evidence from the Facebook account of the girl's husband and arranged witnesses to corroborate the solemnisation of the wedding.

"We arranged all the required proofs and documents, including the age certificates of the two, and appealed to the court to grant annulment of this child marriage," Bharti said.

After hearing the arguments, presiding officer of the family court Rekha Bhargava ordered the annulment of the wedding, which had been solemnised seven years back.

Delighted with the order, the girl said that she felt like she had been prisoned and now was free to pursue her dreams.

She said that she would now pursue her studies and would become a police officer.

Hailing the order, Chairman of the Bal Kalyan Samiti Rajendra Chawda said that this was a strong message by the court against the social evil of child marriage.

Bharti said that after winning this fight for freedom, her Trust will now prepare for the girl's rehabilitation and providing her support to realise her dreams.

Updated Date: Oct 09, 2017 23:11 PM

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