Fact Sheet: Independent Thought V. India

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On October 11, 2017, the Supreme Court of India issued a landmark judgment recognizing every girl’s right to bodily integrity, and penalizing rape within child marriage. In Independent Thought v. Union of India and Another, the highest court of India articulated for the first time the government’s constitutional and human rights obligation to address child marriage and respect the rights of married girls. This legal change affects girls across India, which has the highest number of child marriages globally and where married girls are three times more likely to experience rape than women married above 18 years of age.