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Delhi HC holds the marriage of a 15-year-old child as legal, says a Muslim girl who has attained puberty is free to marry anyone as per Sharia law 

As per the status report filed by the respondent, the girl was born on August 2, 2006, making her only 15 years old at the time of the marriage.

The Delhi High Court recently justified child marriage by upholding the legality of a 15-year-old minor girl’s marriage, stating that she is of ‘Marriageable Age’ under Islamic Sharia Law.

The court held that a Muslim girl who is less than 18 years old but has attained puberty is free to marry anyone as per the Muslim Personal Law. The court observed that the minor Muslim girl can not only marry without the consent of her parents but can also reside with her husband even when she is less than 18 years of age.

Delhi HC’s single bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh made the observation while granting protection to a Muslim couple who married in March 2022 according to Islamic rites and rituals. The couple moved the court seeking directions to ensure that no one separates them.

The couple had filed a plea in court after the parents of the minor girl opposed the marriage and registered an FIR under IPC Section 363 against the husband. Subsequently, Section 376 and Section 6 POCSO were invoked in the case.

The girl reportedly told the court that she was beaten on a regular basis by her parents and had eloped and married of her own volition.

Meanwhile, as per the status report filed by the respondent, the girl was born on August 2, 2006, making her only 15 years old at the time of the marriage.

The status report further mentioned that the girl was brought back from the custody of her husband and handed over to her parents in the month of April. A medical examination was conducted on her at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (DDU), Delhi. The medical test revealed that the couple has had sexual intercourse and that the 15-year-old was then pregnant.

Granting protection to the couple, the Court observed: “It is thus clear that as per Mohammedan Law girl who had attained the age of puberty could marry without the consent of her parents and had the right to reside with her husband even when she was less than 18 years of age and thus otherwise minor girl.”

The court also ruled that the POCSO Act cannot be applied in the aforementioned case because it is not a case of sexual exploitation, but rather one in which the couple fell in love, married according to Muslim laws, and then had physical relationships.

Punjab and Haryana HC cites Sharia to justify child marriage

Interestingly, this is not the first case where a court has held the marriage of a minor Muslim girl legal. Recently, Punjab And Haryana High Court also justified child marriage by granting protection to a 16-year-old Muslim Girl who married a 21-year-old Muslim boy while noting that she is of Marriageable Age under Muslim Personal Law.

Last year too, the same verdict was passed by Justice Alka Sarin of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. While hearing the plea filed by a 36-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, she gave the verdict relying on various court rulings and article 195 in ‘Principles of Mohammedan Law’, an authoritative textbook by Muslim personal law jurist Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla, that states: “Every Muslim with a mature mind who has attained puberty can contract marriage. Minors who have not attained puberty can be validly contracted in marriage by their parents.”

It is noteworthy that the Parliament had earlier introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021 to increase the marriageable age of girls to 21, equal to that of boys. Furthermore, while introducing the bill, the government said that it would be applicable to every girl irrespective of religion.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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