The Assam government on Monday decided to book men who marry girls below 14 years of age under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
A cabinet meeting held here took this decision, he said.
The state has a quite high rate of maternal and infant mortality, and health professionals link it with the child marriage.
Briefing reporters about the cabinet decisions, Sarma said that Assam has an average of 31 per cent marriages in the “prohibited age”.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be used to prosecute men who marry girls between the ages of 14 and 18 and required legal action would be taken against them, he said.
Sarma also said that police have been ordered to launch a state-wide crackdown against child marriage.
“Every village will have a Child Protection Officer designated, and the Gram Panchayat Secretary would be responsible for reporting any child marriages that occur there,” he added.