Muslim Girl Over 16 Years Of Age Can Marry Man Of Choice: Punjab And Haryana High Court

New Delhi: A Muslim girl over 16 years of age is competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice. The bench of Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed the order while disposing of a protection plea of a Muslim couple. A 21-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl (petitioners in the case) had approached the HC for the protection of their life and liberty from family members.

The couple fell in love some time ago and got married on June 8, 2022, as per Muslim rites and ceremonies.

The petitioner couple, through their counsel, contended 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 a threat to their lives, the couple had made a representation to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Pathankot, but no action has been taken so far, The Indian Express reported.

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…”

Also holding that “the court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the apprehension of the petitioners needs to be addressed”, the bench disposed of the petition with a direction to the SSP, Pathankot, to decide 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,” the bench said.

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