The Gujarat High Court on Friday ruled that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, will apply on the Muslim persons too. The court also underlined that in cases of minor Muslim girls, provisions of the Child Marriage Act will prevail over the provisions listed in the Muslim personal laws. The ruling was pronounced by the High Court single-judge bench of Justice JB Pardiwala in its verdict of the case pertaining to a “marriage” involving a minor girl from the Muslim community.
Yunush Shaikh (28), a resident of Ahmedabad city, had moved High Court seeking to set aside an FIR registered against him for an alleged abduction and rape under the IPC and related offenses under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO). 28 years old Shaik had eloped and married a 16 years old girl from his neighbourhood after which the girl’s father had lodged a complaint against him.
During the course of hearing, Shaikh had argued that Child Marriage Act won’t apply to him as he would be governed by the Muslim Personal Law.
Rejecting his argument, the Gujarat High Court gave him partial relief by quashing the charges of abduction and rape and those under POCSO but directed the police to investigate and register a case under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA). While quashing the FIR, Justice JB Pardiwala observed, “This, in my view, is nothing, but the lack of maturity, understanding and education on the part of the girl. Sixteen years is not an age for a girl to get married”.
The High Court also observed that rigidity on part of Islamic authorities has not allowed to bring in changes to the Muslim Personal Law.
“Most of the time, unfortunately, this type of marriages fail, and one day, the girl would come back to her parents,” said the judge.
The High Court bench, however, also noted that with the changing social conditions, education and economic necessities, Muslims too “have realised evil consequences of getting a girl married at a tender age of 16 or 17 years.”
(With inputs from the PTI)