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Conflicts in marriage laws in children: Medico-Legal and social implications

Authors:

M. M. A. C. Gunathilaka ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About M. M. A. C.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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W. N. S. Perera

University of Kelaniya, LK
About W. N. S.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

The General Marriage Registration Ordinance of Sri Lanka sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 even though there is a conflict between the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act section 23 which has no minimum legal age of marriage and allows the children under the age of 12 to be married with the approval by Quazi court. Some other situations, law of the state and rights of childhood conflicts with the societal expectations when the child is not legally permitted to marry following consented sexual relationship. Case 1: A 16-year-old Muslimgirl was missing from the home and was found by the police when she was living with her boyfriend. She had consensual sexual relationship with the boyfriend. History revealed that she was not aware of age of marriage. Case 2: A 15-year-old Muslimgirl went missing and mother made a complaint to the police. History revealed that she had eloped with her sister’s husband who had 2 children with the promise ofmarrying her. When they returned home mother was in a dilemma regarding the complaint she made to the police. Law of the state has the right to protect all the citizens specially rights of the children. Discrepancy in the marriage law according to the ethnicity has created confusion allowing charge of rape in one ethnic group and not in another ethnic group. Moreover, child marriage compromises the right to education, health and employment while creating social issues of polygamous relationship and social security.

How to Cite: Gunathilaka, M.M.A.C. and Perera, W.N.S., 2019. Conflicts in marriage laws in children: Medico-Legal and social implications. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 7(2), pp.56–59. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v7i2.7400
Published on 30 Dec 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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