The Gujarat High Court has said that a Muslim girl can marry when she attains puberty or completes 15 years of age.
The court made the observation while quashing legal proceedings against a Muslim youth who had married a 17-year-old girl of his community under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Justice J B Pardiwala in the order passed on December 2 said that according to the Muslim Personal Law, a Muslim girl, if she attains puberty or completes the age of 15 years, is “competent” to get married.
“It is not in dispute that the boy and girl both are Muslims. According to the Personal Law of Muslims, the girl no sooner than she attains the puberty or completes 15 years, whichever is earlier, is competent to get married without the consent of her parents,” the order said.
The court gave the judgementin connection with a plea filedby a Surat-based youth Yusuf Lokhat seeking to set aside the charge sheet filed against him in the city’s court under several sections of Prohibitionof Child Marriage Act, 2006.
“It appears that the parents ofthe girl have also now accepted the marriage. The man and his wife both are personally present in the Court. They confirm about their marriage. The girl submits that she is happily residing with her husband at her matrimonial home. Having regard to the peculiar facts of the case, in my view, no case is made out to prosecute the criminal proceedings further,” the order said.
As per the case details, Lokhat married a 17-year-old girl from his community in February this year. Following the marriage, the girl’s father,who was initially against the marriage, wrote to a Superintendent of the ‘Children Home for Girls’ in Surat, who had initiated legal proceedings against the boys and other three persons known to the boy.
In the FIR, the father of the girl had stated that his daughter could not have performed the ‘nikaah’ with Lokhat as she was a minor aged about 17 years and three months at that time.
The FIR had been lodged against the accused persons for the offence punishable under Sections 9 (punishmentof rigourous imprisonment of two years for adult male marrying a child), 10 (whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage) and 11 (for permitting and promoting child marriage by not reporting it) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The high court, while setting aside all the charges, said “all further proceedings pursuant to such FIR shall stand terminated.”
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