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The Supreme Court will hear whether a Muslim girl above 15 years of age can marry of her choice. The Supreme Court has accepted the petition of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights against the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The single bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave an important decision in June 2022. According to the judgement, a Muslim girl below the age of 18 is free to marry of her own free will. The court cited Islamic law behind this.
SC stays High Court’s decision
The SC has also put a stay on not taking the High Court’s decision as a precedent till further orders. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said that we will tag all the cases and list the matter after three weeks. In November 2022, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Punjab government in a similar case.
Argument- Violation of child marriage law
The Child Commission has said that the High Court judgment allows child marriage and is in violation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. The petition states that the provisions of the Act are secular and apply to all religions. Under the POCSO law, the age of 18 years has been fixed for having a physical relationship. In such a situation, the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is against the POCSO Act.
On behalf of the Commission, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also said that girls are being married at the age of less than 18 years. Can illegal work be done under the guise of personal board? How can the marriage of a minor be justified in view of the POCSO Act?
The High Court had said – every citizen has the right to protect life and liberty
A loving couple had married on 8 June 2022 under Muslim customs. After this, the lover couple reached the High Court seeking protection and told their family about the threat to their lives. While hearing the matter, the High Court said that the marriage of Muslims is governed by the Muslim Personal Law. Under this, any person who attains sexual maturity is considered eligible for marriage. If a Muslim boy or girl becomes young, they are free to marry whomever they want. In such a situation, there is no interference of the parents. Along with this, it is also clarified that in the absence of proof, then the age of 15 years is considered marriageable. The High Court said that every citizen of the country has the right to protect life and liberty.
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