Women organisations have expressed concern over a Delhi High Court upholding the marriage of a 15-year-old Muslim girl, quoting Mohammedan law on marriage.
The court has held the marriage of a minor girl valid, while ruling that a Muslim girl could marry a person of her choice at the age of 15 years if she has attained puberty.
Citing concerns, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women Annie Raja said: “This is very disturbing because one of the reasons for India’s high maternal mortality is early marriage. This will also prevent the girls from enjoying their Constitutional rights like Right to Education.”
While strongly arguing for one’s right to choose one’s life partner, Raja said the existing law on marriage age should be universally applied.
Sudha Sundararaman, the general secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association echoed this view. “When it is a question of rights of minor, we are for equal law and equal rights across the board.”
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board welcomed the decision. Hyderabad-based functionary of the law board, AR Qureishi, said Islamic laws prohibit child marriage and deem a girl who has attained puberty to be fit for marital life.
“This is a correct interpretation of Muslim personal law. However, since social realities have changed, most Muslim girls marry at a much later age.”