Muslim girl under 18 can marry on attaining puberty: HC

via published on July 9, 2008

New Delhi, July 8: “The marriage of a Muslim girl after reaching puberty but before turning eighteen is valid because the personal laws to which she is subject permits it,” the Delhi High Court has said.

Allowing Afsana to chose whether she would stay with her husband, against whom her mother has lodged a criminal case of kidnapping, or live with parents, a Division Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and V K Shali said that after attaining puberty a Muslim girl can enter into matrimony irrespective of her age.

Dismissing a habeas corpus petition filed by Nihal claiming that he and Afsana got married as per the Muslim rituals in March this year and his wife has been detained by her parents illegally, the court said “Afsana is free to decide her own fate and future.

Afsana’s mother claimed that her daughter was minor as she has not attained puberty and was kidnapped by Nihal to marry her which is illegal.

When the court had earlier wanted to know from the girl if she had attained puberty at the time of marriage, she could not give a clear answer. This prompted the court to order her medical examination.

The Bench said that although there are provisions in law against child marriages but as per the Muslim personal law a girl could choose her life partner.

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