Muslim girl over age of 16 is competent to enter into contract of marriage: Indian HC 

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Published: 6/21/2022 4:34:28 AM

A High Court in India has ruled that a Muslim girl over the age of 16 is competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice.

Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi of Punjab and Haryana state High Court gave the ruling late last week on a plea filed by a Muslim couple in which a 21-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl had approached the court for protection of their life and liberty from family members, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

According to the petitioners who are from Pathankot district of Punjab, they fell in love some time ago and decided to get married. Their marriage was solemnized on June 8 this year as per Muslim rites and ceremonies.

The lawyer of the couple argued that in Muslim law, puberty and majority are one and the same and that there is a presumption that a person attains majority at the age of 15 years.

They further contended that a Muslim boy or Muslim girl who has attained puberty is at liberty to marry anyone he or she likes and the guardian has no right to interfere.

Apprehending the threat to their lives, the couple had made a representation to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Pathankot (Punjab state), but no action has been taken so far.

Justice Bedi said, "The law is clear that the marriage of a Muslim girl is governed by the Muslim Personal Law. As per Article 195 from the book 'Principles of Mohammedan Law' by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla, the petitioner No. 2 (girl) being over 16 years of age is competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice. Petitioner No.1 (boy) is stated to be more than 21 years of age. Thus, both the petitioners are of marriageable age as envisaged by Muslim Personal Law…"

The judge held that "the court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the apprehension of the petitioners needs to be addressed" and directed the police to decide on the representation of the petitioners and take necessary action as per law.

"Merely because the petitioners have got married against the wishes of their family members, they cannot possibly be deprived of their fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution of India," Justice Bedi said. The Daily Star




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