Muslim girl is free to marry anyone she chooses once she hits puberty, Punjab and Haryana High Court says while ordering police to protect 17-year-old Muslim girl who married a 33-year-old Hindu man against his family’s wishes.
Judge Harnaresh Singh Gill made the observation during a protective plea hearing filed by the couple, who married according to Muslim rituals.
âThe law clearly says that the marriage of a Muslim girl is governed by Muslim personal law. In accordance with article 195 of the book âPrinciples of Muslim Law by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mullaâ, the 17-year-old petitioner No. 1 (girl) is competent to enter into a marriage contract with a person of her choice. Petitioner 2 (her partner) is said to be around 33 years old. Thus, the petitioner n Â° 1 has the marriageable age as envisaged by the Moslem right of the persons â, reports the India time extract from the judge’s observation.
“By the simple fact that the applicants married against the wishes of their family members, they can in no case be deprived of the fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution”, declared Judge Gill.
The couple’s claim was that under Muslim personal law, puberty and majority are the same and are seen to be reached by age 15. According to a report published in LiveLaw.in, their lawyer argued that in this case the wife and husband are both over 15 years old, so they have validly married and seek protection.
The court’s observations come amid a political debate over the central government’s decision to impose 21 as the minimum age of marriage for men and women of all faiths by amending the law on the prohibition of marriage of children.
At present, for those who are not covered by personal laws, the legal age of marriage in India is 18 for women and 21 for men. The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, which proposes to make it uniform at age 21, was referred to a standing parliamentary committee after opposition leaders raised questions for further discussion .
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