Facebook proof helps annul child marriage
A YOUNG Indian woman has proved in court she had been illegally married off as a minor after submitting evidence from her husband’s Facebook page.
Sushila Bishnoi, 19, appealed to a court in Rajasthan state to dissolve her underage marriage, an illegal but rife tradition in many parts of rural India.
But her husband denied the couple had ever been betrothed, threatening to scuttle her case.
The teenager, aided by an activist, trawled her husband’s Facebook accounts until they found the smoking gun that proved their marriage had occurred when she was underage.
“Many of his friends had posted congratulatory messages on his Facebook page,” Kriti Bharti, an activist whose Sarathi Trust charity has annulled many child marriages in Rajasthan, said.
“The court accepted the evidence and declared the marriage invalid.”
The couple were married at a secret wedding ceremony in Barmer district in 2010 when both were just 12 years old.
“I wanted to study, but my family and my in-laws wanted me to live with a drunkard,” Bishnoi said.
“It was about life and death, and I chose to live.”
She ran away from home to a shelter, where she met Bharti, who helped her begin legal proceedings to dissolve the union.
India’s highest court on Wednesday declared sex with a minor akin to rape even if the couple were married, a landmark ruling that closed a legal loophole around child marriage.
Nearly half of all girls in South Asia marry before 18 years of age. – AFP