In a landmark judgment, the Circuit Bench of the Karnataka High Court in Dharwad has held that the Mohammedan Law will not apply in the marriage of a minor Muslim girl.
Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri delivered the judgement while dismissing a petition by Seema Begaum (16) of Koppal seeking action against the Woman and Child Development Department, Koppal DC and others for stalling her marriage twice. Justice Hinchigeri said a personal law or a community law could not override the statutory law in the marriage of a minor girl. The Prevention of Child Marriage Act was applicable to all communities, including Muslims, he said. Till the girl completed 18 years of age — the age set by the statutory law — she could not get married and this could not be violated by any community, he said. When a minor girl got married she would lose her childhood, and once it was lost nobody could give her that back, he added.
The petitioner had contended that she was a Muslim and the provisions of the Mohammedan Law said a Muslim girl of sound mind, who had attained puberty, could enter into contract of marriage and that the provisions of the Prevention of Child Marriage Act-2006 would not be applicable to Muslims. She had also sought the court’s permission to get married.
Additional Advocate General K M Nataraj said the Prevention of Child Marriage Act applied to all communities and child marriage could not be protected under the pretext of religious practice. Begaum’s parents said their daughter’s marriage had been rescheduled twice and with this judgment, they would wait till their daughter became an adult.