Cancelling a Child Marriage

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

Where a child marriage has taken place, the person who was a child at the time of marriage has an option to cancel the marriage. You can cancel a child marriage in the following manner:

 

Where do you file the case?

A petition should be filed in the District Court to get the marriage annulled.

 

Who files the case?

If the person filing the case is a minor (below 18 years of age) then their petition has to be filed through a guardian or any other person who is interested in the child’s well being. This person will have to file the case along with the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer, who is responsible for preventing child marriages. 

 

When can you file the case?

It is important to note that there is a time limit to file this petition. It can only be filed within two years after the child attains majority. For girls, such a petition to strike down their marriage can only be filed till they turn 20 years old and for boys till they turn 23 years old.

 

What does the Court do?

When such a child marriage is cancelled, the District Court will order both the parties to return all the money, valuables, ornaments and all other gifts received during the wedding to the other side. If they are unable to return the gifts, an amount equal to the value of the gifts must be returned. 

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How can minors marry under Christian Law?

Under Christian law, a minor is defined as someone below the age of 21 years, and is not a widow or widower.

Reporting Child Marriages

Anyone can file a complaint of child marriage, including the child. It doesn't matter whether the child marriage has taken place or not.

Prohibition of Child Marriage

The law prohibits people from performing child marriages and lays down punishments for those involved in conducting the marriage. 

Who can get married under Christian Law?

Any two persons who are Christians can marry under Christian law. However, there are some minimum age requirements and prohibited marriages.

Child Marriage Prohibition Officers

Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CPMO) are appointed by the State governments to curb issues of child marriages in each State.

Power of the Court to Stop Child Marriage

After receiving credible information, the Court can issue an order prohibiting a child marriage from being conducted.