Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed that even though Muslim law allows marriage after attaining puberty age but the Prohibition of the Child Marriage Act 2006, is a Secular law and does not differentiate based on religion. According to the Prohibition Child Marriage Act, the prescribed minimum age for marriage of females is 18 years and for males, it is 21 years.
The Court also directed that if an age verification certificate is provided by parties where the girl is found below the age of 18, immediate action will be taken under the act.
The order was pronounced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court bench comprising of Justice Anmol Rattan Singh.
The facts of the case:
In this case, a girl - Jasmeet had married a boy named Azim khan. The former was shown to be aged above 18 years while it was contended that even though the latter was a minor, she was still eligible for marriage under Muslim law.
It was further contended through the supreme court’s judgment in case Hardev Singh vs Harpeet Kaur, 2020 where it was held that the age of the girl was within the eligible bracket for marriage as per the Child Marriage Act and therefore no offense punishable under provisions of law was found.
The court directed that,
“Verification certificate shows that age of petitioner no. 1 is actually below 18 years, this order will not restrict the proceedings under child marriage act, 2006, all offense punishable under that Act being cognizable offenses regarding Section 15 thereof”.
It was also directed that “The dispute between Indian law and personal laws has been depicted time and over through different decisions of courts all through the country."
In December 2014, The Gujarat High Court had, maintained the marriage of a minor Muslim girl, seeing that, "As per the personal law of Muslims, the girl no sooner she attains the puberty or finished 15 years, whichever is prior can get married without the assent of her parents”.
In September, the following year, a similar High Court decided that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 is a common law that particularly deals with the issue of child marriage and will override the provisions of Muslim Personal Law, Hindu Marriage Act, or any other personal law.
Again In 2017, the Gujarat High Court gave protection to a 21-year-elderly man who absconded with a minor girl and solemnized the marriage under Muslim personal law.
Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court permitted the protection request of a 36-years old Muslim man who married a 17 years old Muslim Girl, while taking note that both parties are eligible under the Muslim Personal Law.