Last Updated: Monday April 26, 2004

The Child Marriages Restraint Act, 1929

(XIX OF 1929)

[1st October, 1929]

An Act to restrain the solemnization of child marriages

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

1.      Short title, extent and commencement.---(1) This Act may be called the Child Marriages Restraint Act, 1929.

(2)         It extends to the Provinces and the Capital of the Federation including Baluchistan and applies also to:

(a)         All British subjects and servants of the Crown in any part of Pakistan wherever they may be.

(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,---

(a)          “child” means a person who, if a male, is under eighteen years or age, and if a female, is under sixteen 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 solemnized;

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

(e)          “Union Council” means the Union Council or Town Committee constituted under the law relating to Local Government for the time being in force.

Punjab Amendment

(i)           at the end of clause (c), the word “and” shall be added;

(ii)         the comma appearing at the end of clause (d) shall be replaced by “full stop” and

(iii)       clause (e) shall be omitted.

Punjab Ordinance 23 of 1971

3.      [Omitted by the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 (VIII of 1961].

4.      Punishment for male adult above eighteen years of age marrying a child.---Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age, contacts child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extent to one month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

5.      Punishment for solemnizing a child marriage.---Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both, 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 dies any act to promote the marriage or permits it to be solemnized, or negligently fails to prevent it from being solemnized, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both:

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 solemnized.

7.      Imprisonment not to be awarded for offences under section 3.---Notwithstanding anything contained in section 25 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, or section 64 of the Pakistan Penal Code, a Court sentencing an offender under section 3 shall not be competent to direct that, in default of payment of the fine imposed, he shall undergo any term of imprisonment.

8.      Jurisdiction under this Act.---Notwithstanding anything contained in section 190 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure, 1898, no Court other than that of a 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 except on a complaint made by the Union Council, or if there is no Union Council in the area, by such authority as the Provincial Government may in this behalf prescribe, and such cognizance shall in no case be taken after the expiry of one year from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

Punjab Amendment

The word and commas “except on a complaint made by the Union Council, or if there is no Union Council in the area, by such authority as the Provincial Government may in this behalf prescribes and such cognizance shall in no case be taken” occurring after the words “under this Act” and before the words “after the expiry” shall be omitted.

Punjab Ordinance 23 of 1971, section 3

10.  Preliminary inquiries into offences under this Act.---The Court taking cognizance of an offence under this Act shall, unless it dismisses the complaint under section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, either itself make an inquiry under section 292 of the Code, or direct a Magistrate of the first class subordinate to it to make such inquiry.

11.  Power to take security from complainant.---Omitted by section 12(5) of Ordinance of 1961.

12.  Power to issue injunction prohibiting marriage in contravention of this Act.---(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act, the Court may, if satisfied from information laid before it through a complaint or otherwise that a child marriage in contravention of this Act has been arranged or is about to be solemnized, issue an injunction against any of the persons mentioned in section 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act prohibiting such marriage.

(2)         No injunction under subsection (1) shall be issued against any person unless the Court has previously given notice to such person, and has afforded him an opportunity to show cause against the issue of the injunction.

(3)         The Court may either on its own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made under subsection (1).

(4)         Where such an application is received, the Court shall afford the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before it either in person or by pleader; and if the Court rejects the application wholly or in part, it shall recorded in writing its reasons for so doing.

(5)         Whoever knowing that an injunction has been issued against him under subjection (1) of this section disobeys such injunction shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both:

Provided that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment.

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