THE CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT, 1929

An Act to restrain the solemnisation of child marriages.

Whereas it is expedient to restrain the solemnisation of child marriages; It is hereby enacted as follows: 

1. Short title, extend and commencement .  This Act may be called the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and it applies also to all citizens of India without and beyond India.

(3) It shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 1930.

2. Definitions .  In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, 

[i][1] [(a) “child” means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age;]

(b)”child marriage” means a marriage to which either of the contracting parties is a child;

(c)”contracting party” to a marriage means either of the parties whose marriage is or is about to be thereby solemnised; and

(d)”minor” means a person of either sex who is under eighteen years of age.

3. Punishment for male adult below twenty-one years of age marrying a child.  Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age and below twenty-one, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to fifteen days, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

4. Punishment for male adult above twenty-one years of age marrying a child.  Whoever, being a male above twenty-one years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine.

5. Punishment for solemnising a child marriage.  (1) Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine, unless he proves that he had reason to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.

6. Punishment for parent or guardian concerned in a child marriage.  (1) Where a minor contracts a child marriage, any person having charge of the minor, whether as parent or guardian or in any other capacity, lawful or unlawful, who does any act to promote the marriage or permits it to be solemnised, or negligently fails to prevent it from being solemnised, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine.

Provided that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment.

(2) For the purposes of this section, it shall be presumed, unless and until the contrary is proved, that where a minor has contracted a child marriage, the person having charge of such minor has negligently failed to prevent the marriage from being solemnised.

[ii][2] [7. Offences to be cognizable for certain purposes.  The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall apply to offences under this Act as if they were cognizable offences 

(a)for the purpose of investigation of such offences; and

(b)for the purposes of matters other than (i) matters referred to in Section 42 of that Code, and (ii) the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.]

8. Jurisdiction under this Act.  Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 190 of the [iii][3] [Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),] no Court other than that of a [iv][4] [Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class] shall take cognizance of, or try, any offence under this Act.

9. Mode of taking cognizance of offences.  No Court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act after the expiry of one year from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

10. Preliminary inquiries into offences.  Any Court, on receipt of a complaint of an offence of which it is authorised to take cognizance, shall, unless it dismisses the complaint under Section 203 of the [v][5] [Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)] either itself make an inquiry under Section 202 of that Code or direct a Magistrate subordinate to it to make such inquiry.

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