26 April 2022 4:30 AM GMT
Three thousand children born out of child marriages were found to be severely malnourished, while six hundred and one children born out of such unisons died in the past three years, an expert committee formed by the Maharashtra Government informed the Bombay High Court on Monday. A survey conducted by ASHA Workers and Anganwadi workers found that a total of 15,000 severely or...
Three thousand children born out of child marriages were found to be severely malnourished, while six hundred and one children born out of such unisons died in the past three years, an expert committee formed by the Maharashtra Government informed the Bombay High Court on Monday.
A survey conducted by ASHA Workers and Anganwadi workers found that a total of 15,000 severely or moderately malnourished children were found with women given away in child marriage. This includes child deaths from victimes child marriages in the last three years.
"The numbers are mind boggling," Chief Justice Dipankar Datta observed while later asserting in his order that it was indeed the State's responsibility to sensitize members of the tribal community about the ill effects child marriages and implement legislations for its eradication.
However, in total 6,582 children died in these 16 Tribal districts last three years, 26,059 were found to be severely malnourished and 1,10,673 children were found to be moderately malnourished.
The highest number child deaths were reported in Nandurbar ( 1270), followed by Nashik (1050) Palghar(810) and Gadhchiroli (704).
Least number of child deaths (29) were reported from Nagpur district in the last three years, with zero cases of child marriage.
The court was hearing a PIL filed in the year 2007 by Dr. Rajendra Sadanand Burma and activist Bindu Sane, who had raised several issues contributing to the death of tribal children in Melghat area. Burma had alleged that adequate medical facilities do not reach the tribal people, resulting in increased infant mortality rate.
During a previous hearing, the CJ had directed the state to conduct a survey and ascertain the impact of child marriages on the health of tribal children.
On Monday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the court that a three- member expert committee was formed to survey marriages of SAM, MAM and child deads in 16 Tribal districts in the last three years.
Kumbhakoni submitted that the state had prevented 1541 child marriages from being performed.
"From the above survey report it can be concluded that, child marriages of the gild child is an important reason for malnutrition and child death in tribal community," the expert committee report read.
The chief then adjourned the matter to June 20 with the following observation.
"The report gives the details of the girl children whose marriages have been solemnised below the age of 18 years and having delivered a child while being a minor, but the child being severely affected by malnutrition, moderately affected or even having unfortunately passed away," the bench noted in its order.
"We hope and trust that the govt would not leave any stone unturned to appropriately implement the provisions of the legislation which have been used for benefits of children, more particularly girl children among tribal communities."
The bench appreciated the efforts the expert committee members, GV Deore (Deputy Commissioner ICDS), DG Chavan, Assistant Director Health Department and Dr Rajendra Bharud, IAS Tribal Research and Training institute.
"It would be open to the govt as well as 3 member committee that has since been constituted to continue with their efforts to sensitize the community about ill effects of child marriages and to prevent the same."
Case Title: Dr. Rajendra Sadanand Burma versus The State of Maharashtra and Ors.
Click Here To Read/Download Order