Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a 15 year old Muslim minor girl can marry a person of her choice and that marriage would not be considered as void in the terms of Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.
While hearing the writ petition filed by 26 year old Javed, the single judge bench of Justice Vikas Bahl has made this observation.
Javed had filed this habeas corpus petition against the State of Haryana and others to seek the custody of his 16 year old wife, who was kept in a children’s home in Panchkula.
The petitioner submitted that when he performed Nikah(Marriage) in Mosque situated at Manimajra (Chandigarh) then his wife’s age was more than 16 years. To support his argument, the counsel for the petitioner gave the reference of Yunus Khan versus State of Haryana and others 2014 (3) RCR (Criminal) 518 and submitted that the custody of petitioner’s wife should be given to the petitioner.
On the contrary, the counsel of the respondent (State) had opposed the petition of Javed on the grounds that the girl is minor as she is less than 18 years of age. Further, the counsel of the respondent had demanded the petition to be dismissed.
According to The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, which was enacted by the government of India in 2007, the marriage of females below 18 years is illegal. Also, there is a provision of penalizing an adult male, who marries a girl child.
However, the bench of Justice Vikas Bahl ruled that the marriage of the petitioner and his 16 year old wife is valid and ordered the children’s home to give the custody of 16 year old minor to the petitioner.
The High Court noted, “The marriage of a Muslim girl continues to be governed by the personal law of the Muslims and has relied upon the Principles of Mohammedan Law by Sir DinshahFardunji Mulla, more so Article 195 thereof, and after considering the same, it has been observed that 15 years is the age of puberty of a Muslim female, and on her own willingness and consent, after attaining puberty (15 years of age) can marry a person of her choice and such a marriage would not be void in the terms of Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.”
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