SC to examine if Muslim minor can live with husband

The top court admitted the 16-year-old girl's plea against a Allahabad High Court judgment which declared her marriage as void. (Reuters File Photo)

 The Supreme Court has decided to examine the legal question of whether a minor girl who married a man of her choice under the Muslim Law can live with her husband on attaining the age of puberty.

The top court admitted the 16-year-old girl's plea against a Allahabad High Court judgment which declared her marriage as void.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, after the girl, through her husband, challenged the validity of the high court's order of July 17 that sent her to the children's home.

A criminal case of abduction and enticing her away for marriage was lodged against the husband by her parents.

The top court gave the Uttar Pradesh government two weeks time to respond to a plea made by advocate Dushyant Parashar on behalf on the girl, that the high court has committed a “serious illegality” in declaring the marriage void.

The counsel cited the case of Kerala's Shafin Jahan (Hadiya) case, wherein the apex court held the right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution. This right cannot be taken away, except through a law which is substantively and procedurally fair, just and reasonable.

The petitioner said the high court ought to have permitted the girl to lead her matrimonial life. She has attained the age of puberty, and her age has been certified to be of 16 years.

The petitioner also relied on her statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, where she stated that she had married the person out of her own free will, though her family wanted to tie her knot with someone else, who was already married with children.

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