The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre on a petition filed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) to raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslim girls on par with people belonging to other religions.
The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha sought a response from the Centre within 4 weeks.
Currently, the minimum age for marriage in India is at 18 years for women and 21 years for men. However, the minimum age for marriage for Muslim women is when they attain puberty and 15 years is presumed to be that age.
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Minimum Age Of Marriage For Muslim Girls
The NCW said that allowing Muslim women to get married at the age of puberty was arbitrary, irrational, and violative of penal laws. The plea said that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) does not provide for those under 18 to consent to sex.
The NCW argued that allowing Muslim women to get married at the age of 15 would expose them to abuse and harassment. The petition added that a person who attained puberty may be biologically capable of reproduction, but that does not mean they are mentally and psychologically mature enough to get married.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court rejected the bail request of a man detained for allegedly raping a minor girl aged 16 years old.
The court noted, “The consent of a minor is no consent in the eyes of law”.
The NCW said the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed to enforce the fundamental rights of minor Muslim women to bring Islamic personal law in consonance with penal laws applicable to other religions.
Earlier, the Supreme Court agreed to examine the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)’s plea against an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The court had said that a Muslim girl who is 15-years old is competent to get married to a person of her choice under Muslim Personal Law.
The NCPCR sought to ensure proper implementation of statutory laws that were in place to protect children below 18 years of age.