Yemeni Nujood Ali, Yemeni child bride
Child bride Yemeni Nujood Ali's divorce highlighted phenomenon of girls forced into marriage when they are very young Reuters

An Indian teenager has had her marriage annulled in a groundbreaking legal case after she was wed at the age of one.

Laxmi Sargara, who is now 18, discovered she was married only recently when her "husband" Rakesh came to claim her at her parents' house.

Although child marriages were officially outlawed in India in 1929, they are still very common in rural and poorer areas of the country.

"I was unhappy about the marriage. I told my parents, who did not agree with me, then I sought help," Laxmi told AFP news agency.

She went to the local NGO, the Sarathy Trust in Jodhpur city, which gives advice to children in need of help.

"She got depressed. She did not like the boy and was not ready to go ahead with her parents' decision," Sarathi Trust worker Kriti Bharti said.

"It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled and we hope others take inspiration."

Rakesh, who was only three when the marriage was agreed, decided to relent after counselling from the organisation.

Laxmi and Rakesh signed an affidavit declaring the marriage null and void in Jodhpur.

A recent survey found that 10 percent of girls in Rajasthan are married before the age of 19.

In March, the tragic case of Amina Filali, a 16-year-old Moroccan girl who took her own life after being forced into marriage with the man who raped her, sparked an international debate about minors being forced into wedlock.

Ten million girls under the age of 18 are married every year. Former prime minister Gordon Brown, who has been campaigning along with his wife Sarah for education in developing countries, disclosed that 1.5 million of them are under the age of 15.

In Niger, 36 percent of girls are married by the age of 15, while India, where 45 percent of under-18s are married, has the highest number of child brides in the world.

Cases of young girls refusing to get married are very rare.

At the age of 10, Nujood Ali made headlines in 2008 for being one the first Yemeni children to get a divorce after suffering a long period of abuse and violence at the hands of her husband.

She was eight years old when she was forced to marry a 30-year-old man. Ali escaped and found refuge with a judge, Mohammed al-Ghadha, who noticed her waiting on the steps of a court, where she went to seek divorce.