The High Courts of Indian state Punjab and Haryana have said that a Muslim girl who is less than 18 years old and has attained puberty is at liberty to marry anyone as per Muslim Personal Law.
Referring to Article 195 from the book 'Principles of Mohammedan Law,' by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla, the HC observed that a Muslim girl on attaining the age of puberty was competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice, Times of India reported.
Explaining "capacity for marriage" under the Muslim Personal Law, Article195 from the book defines, "Every Mohomedan (Muslim) of sound mind, who has attained puberty, may enter into a contract of marriage. Lunatics and minors who have not attained puberty may be validly contracted in marriage by their respective guardians. A marriage of a Mohomedan who is (of) sound mind and has attained puberty is void if it is brought about without his consent."
"Puberty is presumed, in the absence of evidence, on completion of the age of fifteen years," according to the book. Justice Alka Sarin passed this order while hearing a petition filed by a Muslim couple from Punjab. In this case, the petitioners - a 36-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl - had solemnized their marriage on January 21, 2021, as per Muslim rites and ceremonies. It was the first marriage for both of them. They had sought directions for protection of their life and liberty from their relatives, who are against the relationship.
The petitioners contended that in Muslim law, puberty and majority are one and the same and that there is a presumption that a person attains majority at the age of15 years. They also contended that a Muslim boy or Muslim girl who has attained puberty is at liberty to marry anyone he or she likes and the guardian has no right to interfere. The petitioners pleaded that their life and liberty are in danger from their relatives and they had also submitted a plea to the Mohali SSP to protect their life and liberty.
After hearing their contentions, the judge observed that a Muslim girl is governed by the Muslim Personal Law.
Merely because the petitioners have got married against the wishes of their family members, they cannot possibly be deprived of the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution, contended the HC and directed the Mohali SSP to take appropriate action on their representation regarding protection to their life and liberty.