NHRC calls for eradication of ‘Nata Pratha’, seeks action report from government

09:26 AM Jun 07, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: The NHRC on Thursday called for eradication of ‘Nata Pratha’ and issued notice to the Centre and the governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat over the evil tradition.


Under ‘Nata Pratha’, girls in some communities are allegedly ‘sold’ either on a stamp paper or otherwise in the name of marriage having no legal sanctity in parts of Rajasthan and the adjoining areas in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

The National Human Rights Commission in a statement said that given the ‘unethical and immoral consequences’ of the ‘Nata Pratha’ on women and minor girls, the commission has called for its eradication and abolition and issued notices to the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the four state governments.

They have been directed to submit a report on the measures taken or proposed to be taken in this connection within eight weeks, it said.

The commission’s directions have come following its intervention in a complaint dated July 15, 2020 from the father of a minor girl who he claimed was allegedly kidnapped in Rajasthan’s Salamgarh, district Pratapgrah and her body was found in Danpur, district Banswada in the state. The commission through its Investigation Division conducted an on-spot inquiry into the case, it said.


It was found that the father of the girl himself had sold her for marriage to a man for Rs 2.5 lakh under a purchase deal signed by their families under ‘Nata Pratha’ in the presence of the villagers on July 11, 2019. The groom paid Rs 60,000 and the remaining amount was to be paid by January 10, 2020, the statement said.

However, when he failed to pay the remaining amount within the stipulated time, the father brought his daughter back and fixed her ‘Nata’ with another man for Rs 32,000. The girl objected to this and went to live with her earlier husband at Gagarwa, the statement said.

“She also made a complaint with the Superintendent of Police (SP), Banswada against her father, alleging that he was an alcoholic and had made several attempts to fix her ‘Nata’ against her will with many boys to earn money and that he had also threatened to kill her. The police failed to take any action on her complaint and she committed suicide on June 16, 2020 by consuming poison,” it added.

The NHRC inquiry revealed that the father had filed the complaint in the commission alleging the kidnapping and murder of his daughter to save himself from any action on the police complaint filed by her against him. The Investigation Division suggested legal action against the father of the girl for selling her minor daughter and action against the police personnel of Danpur for their inaction on the girl’s complaint, it said.

The NHRC on-spot inquiry team also suggested that the state government should enact a law to stop the social evil of ‘Nata Pratha’.

Thereafter on January 23, 2020, the commission deputed its Special Rapporteur to make an exhaustive inquiry into the matter of selling girls in Rajasthan. He also suggested an urgent need to address this social evil through a multi-faceted strategy as it violated basic human rights. The commission referred the matter to the Research Division also to suggest the measures in this regard, it said.

The research wing observed that the ‘Nata Pratha’ is comparable to ‘modern forms of prostitution’. Among various measures, it suggested that besides enacting a law, the individuals involved in forcing women to go for ‘Nata Pratha’ must be prosecuted under laws relating to human trafficking and for selling the minor girls under the relevant provision of the POCSO Act to check this menace, the statement said.

It also suggested setting up a board or a group at the village level to register the cases of ‘Nata Pratha’ in addition to building awareness and providing education and employment to improve the economic and social status of girls and women.

The commission shared these inputs with the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development on March 18 which also opined that ‘Nata Pratha’ seems derogatory to women, and needs to be abolished, it added.


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