Jaipur: To curb child marriages that are rampant in Rajasthan's rural areas, the state government has issued a directive that the date of birth of the bride and groom be printed on wedding invitation cards, officials said Monday.

All district collectors and superintendents of police (SP) have already been asked to ensure strict enforcement of the directives, likely to be enforced across the state soon. A senior woman and child welfare department officer told media: "All printing press owners will have to secure a date of birth certificate from the families of the bride as well as the groom before printing the wedding cards."

The officer said that if the printing press owner finds either the bride or the groom or both are not of the legal age for marriage, he would turn down the print order. "He may even have to report the proposed wedding to the district administration, so that it can be prevented," the officer said.

Printing press owners found flouting the orders would face arrest and six months' imprisonment, and also have to cough up a fine of Rs.1,000. The project was launched on a pilot basis at Bharatpur district in April last year.

"The results are great. About 50 child marriages were prevented in the past one year. Now, it has been implemented across the state," the officer said. "Since wedding invitation cards are commonly printed to invite guests, we have directed printing press owners to follow these orders. They have been asked to submit a copy of the invitation card for each wedding taking place in the respective district administration. These wedding cards will be scanned," the officer said.

Child marriages are rampant in the state, especially in the rural areas, on Akha Teej or Akshaya Tritiya, a day considered auspicious for weddings. This year, Akha Teej falls in May.

(Agencies)

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