Class X girl, forced to marry cousin, now served legal notice on ‘sexual duties’
In an appalling incident, a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Hyderabad, who returned to her parents after being forced to marry a man more than double her age, has been served a legal notice reminding her of her “sexual duties”.
However, police said that they cannot take action based on the notice as child marriage is not legal, a report by a news channel said.
On the other hand, the victim, a student of Class X, has approached child rights activists seeking help.
It all started in February last year when the girl was preparing for her Class X exam. Her family forced her to marry her cousin who is 20 years older, claiming that her aunt wouldn’t live long and wanted to see her son married.
“It (the wedding) happened very suddenly. He was more than 35 years old. I didn't know at the time,” the girl was quoted as saying.
While the girl unwillingly agreed to the marriage, she did put forth a condition that she be allowed to sit for her Board exams and study further.
Soon after her exams, she was sent to her husband’s home, where she was allegedly subjected to physical and sexual abuse on a daily basis.
Two months after the marriage, she returned home and was welcomed by her parents. When they asked her husband’s family to return Rs 1 lakh dowry and gold that they gave at the time of wedding, the girl was sent a notice.
The helpless girl and her family contacted Anuradha, a social activist, who called a Panchayat meeting with elders from both sides to try and resolve the issue.
The husband, however, turned up with two lawyers, saying that he would rather pay the money to lawyers than returning it to her parents.
Achuthya Rao, a Child Rights Commission member, said that it was appalling that a minor girl was being served legal notice reminding her of her “sexual duties”.
“The accused is not being booked. Instead, a legal notice has been sent to this 15-year-old girl for restitution of conjugal rights. We are going to file a criminal case against the lawyer,” said Rao.
When questioned about serving the notice to the girl, the lawyer said he wasn’t aware that the girl was a minor.