The Delhi high court has recently ruled that a 15-year-old Muslim girl can merry as per her wish if she attains puberty.
The court accepted the plea of a 16-year-old Muslim girl to remain in her married home and dismissed her mother’s petition that the girl was kidnapped and then forced into marriage a year back.
While upholding the marriage, the court based its decision on various Supreme Court decisions and the Mohammedan law.
"This Court notes that according to Mohammedan Law a girl can marry without the consent of her parents once she attains the age of puberty and she has the right to reside with her husband even if she is below the age of 18,” the bench said.
Most amusing is the bench even ignored the fact that girls can have serious medical complications if they become pregnant at such tender age.
Attaining puberty does not mean that they have mentally and physically attained maturity.
The court’s decision comes in direct conflict with the secular law of our country- ‘The Special Marriage Act’ which has set eligible age for marriage as 21 for men and 18 for women.
On the other hand, the community people have different opinions about the judgment.
Youngsters feel that irrespective of the religion, the law of land should prevail. “A girl should enter wedlock only when she attains mental and physical maturity and 15 is certainly not the right age,” a young girl said.
However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has accepted the ruling wholeheartedly. "We want our personal laws to be upheld," said Sadia Dehelvi of AIMPLB.
Article 251 of Mulla’s principles of Mohammedan law states that- “every Mohammedan of sound mind, who has attained puberty, may enter into a contract of marriage”.
It’s always appreciable if the Indian judiciary tends to be liberal and pragmatic in its decisions but it should certainly not pass a ruling based on a religious-specific law as this would trigger communal tensions and politics.