A court in Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh has ordered registration of a criminal case against four BJP leaders, including former state minister Harishanker Khatik, for allegedly facilitating the marriage of a minor tribal girl under a government scheme.
Congress leader Yadvendra Singh had filed a complaint in the matter.
Judicial Magistrate Amar Singh Sisodia yesterday ordered registration of a case against Harishanker Khatik, a former minister of state, former chairman of the Bundelkhand Development Authority Surendra Pratap Singh, former Tikamgarh Municipality chairman Rakesh Giri and former Tikamgarh district BJP chief Nandkisore Napit under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
The judge summoned them to the court on October 12.
Advocate Anil Tripathi, Yadvendra Singh’s lawyer, said the accused facilitated the marriage of the tribal girl with a married man from her community when she was only 15 years and 11 months old under the Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana on April 25, 2012.
The girl hailed from Baisa Tiparian village panchayat.
Harishanker Khatik even performed the girl’s ‘kanya-daan’ (a ritual where the girl’s father or guardian offers her hand in marriage to the bridegroom) and took part in other wedding rituals, according to the complaint.
The Congress leader first complained to the district administration and the state government about the unlawful marriage and moved the court when there was no action, the lawyer said.
Under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, marriage of a boy below 21 years of age and a girl below 18 is an offence punishable with a two-year imprisonment or Rs. one lakh fine or both.
Under the Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana, the state government provides financial aid at the time of marriage to couples from weaker sections of the society.
As carried ndtv on 25.9.17