SC summons UP home secretary in Muslim girl case
Irked over the Uttar Pradesh government’s failure to respond to its notice on a plea by a 16-year-old Muslim girl seeking validation of her marriage under Mohammadan law, and release from a women’s home where she is currently lodged, the Supreme Court summoned the state’s home secretary, asking him to be present on September 23 before it.
A bench led by Justice NV Ramana retorted when the UP government counsel asked for 15 days to file a written response and said: “You are taking it so lightly. The girl is kept inside in Nari Home. Let your secretary home be present in person on Monday.”
The girl approached the top court on September 10 against the Allahabad high court’s decision to send her to a woman’s shelter home, terming her marriage as void. Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 the legal marriageable age for a girl is 18 while for a boy its 21 years. But in its 2018 verdict in the Shafin Jahan case, the top court recognized the Mohammadan law and held that a marriage under the same is valid if both – the boy and girl -- profess Islam and had attained the age of puberty.
In this the girl has asked the top court to test her case on the touchstone of the Shafin Jahan verdict. Filed by advocate Dushyant Parashar the petition said his client’s marriage was valid because both the girl (16) and her husband (24) had attained puberty, there was an offer and acceptance, giving and taking of meher and a nikahnama was drawn with the consent of both.
The matter reached the high court after the girl’s father lodged a kidnapping case against the husband. In a statement recorded by the magistrate the girl stated she had married of her own volition without any pressure and that she wanted to live with her husband. She refused to go back to her parents after which she was sent to a women’s home.