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  • kewal sethi



there is a news item yesterday which raises some questions. a girl was married at the age of 14. she is now mother of two and divorced. she cleared the public service commission examination and was selected as deputy collector in the state administrative service. but she did not get the appointment. reason - there is a rule that those who commit child marriage are barred from entering state service.

she has now approached the supreme court which has ordered that a post should be kept reserved for her till the case is decided.

this is an example of how a rule is applied mechanically by bureaucracy. there is no application of mind.

she was married at 14. was it because she wanted to? if not, would it not entitle her to be a victim rather than a perpetrator of crime. she was tortured mentally and physically and on this ground she got the divorce after 13 years of marriage. she did not get maintenance allowance from her ex-husband. had the mind been applied, it would be clear that the rule was to discourage persons from child marriages. if a 25 or 30 years old man would have married a minor girl, the application of the rule would be justified for the man. certainly the intention of the rule was not to punish the minor. juveniles even escape from extreme penalties even after heinous crimes like committing murder. but here she is being punished for the act of the man.

but we just go by the rules. we never ever see the real intention and objective of the rule. no wonder, the bureaucracy is unpopular with everyone. she must have met the officers of the state government before going to the court. but obviously no one was prepared to listen to her.

it is to be hoped that while filing the reply to the court, mind will be applied and an appointment letter will be given to her and also assurance to the court that the rule will be amended to provide that it is not intended for the victims of the crime of marrying minors.

is it hoping for too much?


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