HC makes AIMPLB party in PIL against ‘underage’ marriage

Saturday, 27 MAY 2023 | PNS | NAINITAL

Hearing on a public interest litigation regarding permission granted to females aged below 18 years being allowed to marry under Muslim personal law, the Uttarakhand High Court has made the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) a party in the PIL and issuing a notice, has directed that the reply be submitted in four weeks. The High Court division bench headed by chief justice Vipin Sanghi issued this direction on Friday.

According to the case details, the Youth Bar Association of India has stated in its PIL that in cases of girls aged under 18 years getting married, some courts are granting recognition to the couple and also issuing orders to provide police protection to them because such marriages are allowed under Muslim personal law. The petitioner has further stated that a girl marrying while aged under 18, physical relations with a minor and delivering a child at a young age affect the health of both the girl and her child. It is further stated in the PIL that on the one hand the government has enacted laws like Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act while on the other hand marriage of girls aged below 18 years is being permitted which is a violation of the said Act. The PIL has sought that marriage to a girl aged under 18 years should be declared illegal and the physical relations with such a girl after marriage should be categorised as rape, on the basis of which action should be taken under the POCSO Act against the accused. The petitioner has also sought that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021, raising the marriageable age of women from 18 years to 21 years, which was introduced in the parliament should be passed without delay. Till the bill is passed, the court has been requested to declare underage marriage illegal irrespective of religion and caste.

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