It came into force on April 1, 1930. It restrains the marriage of a child, though the marriage itself is not declared void. Accordingly, contracting, performing and facilitating the marriage of boys under eighteen and girls less than fourteen years of age were an offence. The age of girls was later on raised to fifteen years. The amendment made in 1978 further rose the age for boys to twenty-one years and for girls to eighteen years.
The violation of the Act prescribes penalty but the marriage itself remains valid. The offence under the Act is non-cognizable and provides punishment for the bridegroom, parent, guardian, and the priest, which are three months of simple imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs. 1000.
No woman is, however, punishable with imprisonment under this Act. The Act also provides for the issue of injunction order prohibiting the child marriage. But no action can be taken for the offence if a period of more than one year has expired from the date of the alleged marriage.