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'Taking It So Lightly': SC Asks UP Home Secy to Clear Stand on Validity of 16-yr-old Muslim Girl's Marriage

Representative image.

Representative image.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana took to task the counsel for the state government, questioning if they realise that the ambiguity has compelled the girl to languish in a shelter home against her will.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned the Home Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government, asking him to come clean on the state’s stand on a petition filed by a 16-year-old Muslim girl whose marriage has been declared void on account of age.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana took to task the counsel for the state government, questioning if they realise that the ambiguity has compelled the girl to languish in a shelter home against her will.

"Let your Home Secretary remain present in person on Monday before us," ordered the court after the state's counsel asked for 15 days to file their official reply in the matter. "You are taking it so lightly… the girl is kept in a Nari Home against her will. Let your Secretary be present on Monday," said the court.

The girl, through her counsel Dushyant Parashar, has raised questions as to how the Allahabad High Court could declare her marriage to be null and void due to her age when the age of puberty under the Mohammedan Law is 15.

Holding that she will have to be treated as a juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act, the High Court had lodged the girl in a shelter home in Ayodhya after she declined to go back with her parents.

The girl and her husband challenged this order in the top court, pointing out once she attained the age of puberty under the Mohammedan Law, she was free to exercise her will and marry the man of her choice. They said the high court failed to appreciate the fact that the ‘nikah’ was in accordance with the Mohammedan Law.

The marriage was the result of a love affair, following which the girl's father lodged a police complaint and action was taken.