The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found serious discrepancies in the implementation of the Child Marriage Prevention Act in Maharashtra. A report related to the poor implementation was presented today in the State Assembly in Mumbai. The report mentions that the Act came into force in 2007, but it was notified almost a year later in September 2008. What was even more disturbing was the fact that Child Marriage Prevention Officers (CMPO) were appointed in rural areas after six years.
As per the provisions listed in the Act, CMPOs should have been given the powers of police officers, but this important step was delayed by more than six years. The Act specifies that CMPOs are appointed to curb the practice of child marriage, provide counseling, create awareness, and help the government in legal cases related to child marriages. As per data provided by Additional Director Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH), the number of cases of child marriages involving girls less than 10 and 14 years of age was 378 and 627 respectively.