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SC to examine 16-year-old girl’s plea to join her ‘husband’

first_imgThe Supreme Court has decided to examine the appeal of a 16-year-old teenager, lodged in a shelter home on the orders of the Allahabad High Court, to return to her 24-year-old “husband” whom she married in accordance with Mohammedan law.A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana has issued notice to the State of Uttar Pradesh and sought a response in two weeks.HC orderThe High Court had on July 17, 2019 declared the marriage void. It said she had not yet attained the age of majority of 18. Since she had refused to go home to her parents, the court ordered her stay in a government home for women.In her plea, the girl claimed that she had attained puberty and is a major under the Mohammedan law. She is married to a person whom she loves and her enforced stay in a home violates her basic fundamental right of equality..‘Illegal detention’The petition, filed through advocate Dushyant Parashar, contended that her stay in the nari niketan “amounts to illegal detention, whereas she has after attaining puberty is competent to marry as per Mohammadan law.” The petition said both she and her husband are Muslims and have married according to the customs and law of their religion. “Both profess Islam and have attained the age of puberty and further with the offer and acceptance and further by giving and taking dower and mehar, have performed nikah by drawing the nikahnama,” the petition said.Shafin Jahan caseThe petition quotes the case of Shafin Jahan, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of a woman to make her own choices in life.“The right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 of the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees the right to life. This right cannot be taken away except through a law which is substantively and procedurally fair, just and reasonable. Intrinsic to the liberty which the Constitution guarantees as a fundamental right is the ability of each individual to take decisions on matters central to the pursuit of happiness… Matters of dress and of food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership are within the central aspects of identity,” the petition quoted the Shafin Jahan judgment.Kidnap chargeThe pettion said the nikah was performed in June 2019. The father of the girl registered an FIR against the 24-year-old, accusing him of the offences of kidnapping with intention to compel marriage. The petition said the girl had “explicitly stated that she wanted to stay with her husband she had married out of her free will.” However the magistrate ordered her to be sent to the local Child Welfare Committee.Subsequently, a habeas corpus petition filed by the girl was dismissed by the High Court.last_img

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