The marriages of 12 minor girls scheduled to be held in various parts of Malappuram district next week were stopped by the Nilambur First Class Judicial Magistrate Court on Saturday.
The order was issued after the district child protection officer, the child marriage prohibition officer (Nilambur) and authorities of the integrated child development scheme (ICDS) approached the court demanding action against the parents of the girls, The Times of India reports.
The parents had ignored earlier warnings from the child welfare authorities and had decided to go ahead with the marriages. They have now been directed to appear before the court on Monday.
â€śOne of the girls is a 15-year-old, while six girls are 16 years old and five are 17 years old,â€ť District Child Protection Officer Sameer Machingal told ToI.
He also said that this was the first time that such a large number of child marriages were stopped due to court intervention. To deal with Malappuram districtâ€™s high rates of child marriages, 29 block level child marriage prohibition officers were appointed recently. These officers had given reports regarding the marriage plans two weeks ago.
â€śThe incident is expected to make a positive impact among people, who are not aware about legal consequences of under-aged marriages,â€ť Sameer told ToI.
The report says that more than 100 complaints about child marriages were received from the district in the last year.
According to the 2011 census, out of the 23,183 women across Kerala identified as married before the legal age, 3,615 were from Malappuram.