Constitutional Rights for Welfare of Girl Child
Interface among Practitioners, Academicians and Policy Makers
Organised by Deep Welfare and Independent Thought
The Constitution of India is the legal safe guarder and protector of our rights and children have been given special mention in a number of articles. While Article 15 of the Constitution states that ‘the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them’; recognising the need for special protection, Article15 (3) which reads ‘nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children’, provides scope for positive discrimination and action to rectify the historical injustice meted out to girls children in the patriarchal character of our society. The fact on the ground in relation to girls is extremely serious when it comes to their overall development and protection. Two most significant impediments in the life of an Indian girl is restrictions in her access to the Constitutional Right to Education and more significantly the issues of illegal Child Marriage.
The National Consultation being organised on 30th October 2013 at India International Centre, Lodi Road, to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child (Friday the 11th of October, 2013) plans to bring these two issues under discussion in the background of the provisions of Constitutional Rights for Welfare of Girl Children and recommend possible ways to blunt this double edge sword of Illiteracy & Child Marriage. Organised in Delhi by Deep Welfare and Independent Thought; the Consultation would be participated by leading agencies on child rights and women rights in India. The Consultation is in the backdrop of the ongoing PIL, Independent Thought vs. Union of India; [W.P.(Civil) No. 382 of 2013 – where Hon’ble Supreme Court Issued notices to Centre on 10 July 2013) challenges the Constitutional Validity of provisions of Exception 2 to Section 375 of IPC, as amended by Criminal law (Amendment) Act, 2013. While amending the Indian Penal Code through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013; the Parliament ignored its own larger policy on children and failed to protect the rights of girls between the ages of 15-18 years being violated through an illegal act of child marriage. In fact the Parliament went against its own policy and increased the age difference of 1 year to 3 years between married and unmarried girls in relations to age of consent to sexual relationship. The petition raised several questions on the Constitutional Rights of the girl children, primarily in the realm of Socio-Economic rights namely, their right to life, health, choices and prospective rights on being adults.