Delhi HC: Muslim girls on attaining puberty can marry without parents' consent

Delhi HC: Muslim girls on attaining puberty can marry without parents' consent

The petitioners have noted that they were in love with each other and married on March 11, 2022.

A Muslim girl who has attained puberty can marry without the consent of her parents under the Mohammedan Law, the Delhi High Court said. The girl can also reside with her husband even if she is underage, the court added.

The observation was made by Justice Jasmeet Singh during a recent hearing of a plea filed by a couple, a minor girl and a man. They were seeking protection and also wanted to ensure that nobody separates them by force.

India-based news agency IANS reported that the couple got married on March 11, which was against the wishes of the girl's parents.

At the time of the marriage, the man was 25 years old and as per her family and police, the girl was 15 years old in March. However, as per the Aadhaar card that was produced before the court by her counsel, she is over 19 years old.

In an order dated August 17, Justice Singh said, "It is thus clear that as per Mohammedan Law, the girl who had attained the age of puberty could marry without 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 (is a) minor girl."

The full copy of the order was released on Monday evening.

The court also referred to a verdict of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, stating as per Article 195 from the book 'Principles of Mohammedan Law by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla'.

The text stated that every Mohamedan of sound mind, who has attained puberty, may enter into a contract of marriage.

The petitioners have noted that they were in love with each other and married on March 11, 2022. The ceremony was conducted in accordance with Muslim rites and rituals by Maulana Imtiyaz of Jokihat Masjid, District Aauriya, Bihar.

But the parents of the girl were opposing the marriage and they have reportedly registered a case under Section 363 IPC (Punishment for kidnapping) against the man.

Section 376 IPC (Punishment for sexual assault) and Section 6 POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act have been added later. Though initially, the FIR was under Section 363 IPC.

The plea said that the girl was regularly beaten by her parents at home and the parent even tried to forcibly marry her off to someone else despite her love affair.

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Later, after several due processes, it was revealed that the couple has had sexual intercourse and as per the directions of the Child Welfare Committee, the child victim has been kept at Nirmal Chhaya Complex, Hari Nagar.

The couple is also expecting a child together, the petitioner's counsel stated that the woman is pregnant.

The court allowed them to stay together and also directed the authorities to ensure their personal safety and protection.

It said, "Hence, the petitioners being lawfully wedded to each other cannot be denied the company of each other which is the essence of the marriage. If the petitioners are separated, it will only cause more trauma to the petitioner no.1 and her unborn child."

"The aim of the state here is to protect the best interest of Petitioner no.1. If the petitioner has wilfully consented to the marriage and is happy, the state is no one to enter private space of the petitioner and separate the couple. The doing of the same will tantamount to encroachment of personal space by the state," it added.

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