NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary on Monday faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for the failure of lawyers to respond to the court’s notices in the plea filed by a minor Muslim girl against an Allahabad High Court order that had declared her marriage as void.
“If no lawyer responds to Supreme Court notice, Home Secretary will have to appear in the court to defend the case,” the bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said.
“No responsibility for your state. Lawyers don’t respond. Is this the way Uttar Pradesh is behaving? It is a serious matter as the girl is kept in a shelter home. (Why is the) government not assisting us?” the bench asked.
The case in question relates to a 16-year-old Muslim girl who has claimed her alleged marriage to a 24-year-old Muslim man is valid under Mohammedan law.
The Allahabad High Court earlier upheld a lower court’s order declaring her alleged marriage void because she had yet to attain the age of majority.
The girl, who is currently at a girls’ shelter as per the High Court’s order, had petitioned the SC against the decision.
Next hearing on October 1
The court will now hear the case on October 1, when the girl, her alleged husband and father are to be produced before it.
The court has also requested a psychiatrist, preferably a woman, from AIIMS in Delhi to interact with the girl.
Earlier, the girl’s father had lodged a police complaint alleging that his daughter had been kidnapped by a man. The girl recorded her statement and said she had married the man out of her free will.
The girl said that HC failed to appreciate the fact that her ‘nikah’ is in accordance with the Mohammedan Law.