Govt contemplates to bring legislation against rampant Child Marriage in Meghalaya: Paul

Meghalaya News 24 special

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Minister Incharge of Social welfare, Paul Lyngdoh on Thursday claimed that there is a rampant Child Marriage in Meghalaya as the state contemplates to bring anti Child marriage legislation in Meghalaya.

At a time when the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had recently asserted that the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935 will be repealed, and as long as he is alive, he will “not let child marriage take place in Assam”, Meghalaya Government acknowledged that Child Marriage is a serious situation, one of the major drawback of the society here in the state.

Addressing Media persons at the sideline of the release of the Khasi Translation ” Ki Kyndon Aiñ  ba Kongsan,” Lyngdoh said, “We are contemplating a legislation to help the government to put an end to this major social evil of Child Marriage.”


 He said the department of Social Welfare has done extensive research and there is a need to create a huge social awareness and the Khasi Translation ‘Ki Kyndon Aiñ  ba Kongsan,’is a step in that direction.


“We have released the khasi translation of POCSO basically to create awareness among society that somebody who is a child cannot enter into matrimony, into wedlock and therefore anybody who marries somebody who is a child is also culpable under POCSO,” the Minister said.


While stating that such practise prevails in the rural areas, he said, “It’s very rampant and we are yet to be able to conduct a survey which is across the state but it’s certainly its rampant specially as you go away from the city and the town.”

“One of the major drawback of society here in Meghalaya is this phenomenon of Children getting married very early in life and it’s the factor which has contributed to the  School dropout rates,  it has contributed to poverty in society as the Children who are still suppose to pursue their studies are entering Wedlock,” he  added.


While mentioning about the state Government’s initiative, Lyngdoh said, “….. last year we have initiated the Early Child Development mission which basically focuses on the growth of a child specially his capacity to think which is at its peak from Zero to Eight years of age, so intervention in like ECD help to win parents into the correct path which is to collaborate with the Government allow that the formative age of the age is at its best.”


The program was organised by Meghalaya State commission for protection of Child Rights.  The Guest of honour was law Minister Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh.

In may be mentioned that, a report of the commission stated that since the inception of POCSO court in Meghalaya the total number of cases instituted in these Courts i.e till the  end of the year 2023 has reached a total of 2566 and out of which a total of 1984 cases are still pending in the various district Courts. The disposal rate of cases in the state is 22.68%.


It may be noted that the total number of cases instituted has increased over the  years and this may be due to various factors for which a more proper research is  suggested. However, it may be noted that during the pandemic years the number of  Cases instituted were highest at 365 in 2020 and 378 in 2021.


The report further said, coming to the District level, the highest number of POCSO Cases registered in  the various POCSO Courts of the State depicts that East Khasi Hills has the highest  number of POCSO Cases instituted at 709 cases which accounts for 28% of all POCSO cases in the State. The lowest number of POCSO cases instituted in the  state goes to south Garo Hills which account for only2% of the total at 64 Cases.


 When it comes to Convictions of cases, it may be pertinent to point out that Ri  Bhoi District has the distinction of having the highest number of convictions at 50 followed by West Khasi hills at 31 convictions and closely followed by East Khasi Hills  at 30 such convictions. It may be pertinent to also note here that even though South  Garo Hills and South West Garo Hills have 0 (zero) Number of Convictions, this may be partly due to the fact that there is no Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) appointed in South Garo Hills to try the cases and hence all cases in the district are pending before the Court in this district. South West Garo Hills district on the other hand has POCSO  Court established in 2017 and has not had a single conviction.

When it comes to convictions of cases,  on a annual basis  and note that the number of convictions have been steadily increasing yearly and the highest number of convictions on an annual basis was in the year 2022 with a total  number of 60 convictions followed closely with 31 convictions in 2023.


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