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Teenaged girl in Rajasthan seeks to nullify child marriage

Braving the threats of her in-laws, a 17-year-old girl, who was married when she was just 15, has approached a court in Rajasthan to seek annulment of her marriage.

The girl, resident of Balesar block of Jodhpur district has filed a petition in a family court here with the help of Saarthi Trust, an NGO, to nullify her marriage.

“The girl contacted me and sought help to fight against the injustice and to file a petition in the family court to nullify her marriage,” Managing Trustee and Rehabilitation Psychologist of Saarthi Trust, Kriti Bharti told IANS.

The girl, whose father is a truck driver and a resident of Agolai village, was married off to Jasaram of Dudubera village in Balesar block in November 2015 against her will.

Two years later when she refused to go back to her in-laws and decided to end the marriage, her in-laws sought the help of the ‘panchayat’ to dissuade her, but when that did not work they threatened to kidnap her if she dared to go to court.

Fearing a backlash from the community her father too threatened to hang himself to dissuade her from filing the petition.

Despite all that, the girl filed a petition in the family court of Jodhpur to nullify her marriage with the assistance of Kriti Bharti.

“She approached me. I counselled her and consequently some of her relatives came in support of her,” Kriti Bharti said.

“I wanted to study and wanted to stand on my own feet so as not to depend on others. I do not want the bonds of child marriage. Now I have filed the case for child marriage annulment with the help of Kriti Didi (sister). I am hoping to get justice soon,” the teenager said.

Saarthi Trust has taken on the task of fighting against caste orders and it was Kriti Bharti who made a record in India with the first child marriage annulment in 2012. She has successfully got 31 child marriages annulled in India till date.

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