The Jharkhand High Court has reaffirmed that a Muslim girl can marry at the age of 15 years with a person of her choice as per Muslim Personal Law.

Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi placed reliance on the judgment of Yunus Khan v. State of Haryana & Ors., where it was noted that the marriage of a Muslim girl is governed by the personal law of the Muslims and thus observed –

"In view of this judgment, is clear that the marriage of a Muslim girl is governed by the Muslim Personal Law. As per Article 195 from the book 'Principles of Mohammedan Law by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla', the opposite party no.2 is approximately 15 years of age was competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice."

In this case, it was submitted by the Petitioner that opposite party no. 3 i.e., the father of the girl is under a misconception, as the father had lodged an FIR alleging that his daughter is missing.

It was further submitted that both the Petitioner as well as the girl (Opposite Party No. 2) had gotten married and even the Nikahnama was brought on record before the Court.

Further, the Counsel for the opposite party no. 2 had submitted that marriage had been solemnized and both the families have accepted the marriage and in that view of the matter, the entire criminal proceedings may be quashed.

While the Counsel for the father had submitted at the counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of opposite party no.3, wherein, it has been disclosed in paragraph 8 that her daughter has found a right match by Allah's grace and there is no other perfect match than the petitioner and he and his wife with open hearts accepts the petitioner as a son-in-law.

The Court thus noted that opposite party no. 2 i.e., the girl is approximately 15 years of age and was competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice.

In this context, the Bench further held –

"The petitioner is stated to be more than 24 years of age. Thus, both the petitioner and opposite party no.2 attained marriageable age as defined by Muslim Personal Law. Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides for protection of life and personal liberty and further lays down that no person shall be deprived of his or her life and personal liberty except as per the procedure established by law."

Accordingly, the Court quashed the entire criminal proceedings against the Petitioner and disposed of the Petition.

Previously, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also observed a Muslim girl can marry a person of her choice after attaining puberty (15 years of age).

Justice Jasmeet Singh of Delhi High Court while adjudicating upon a Writ Petition filed by a Muslim couple who were married as per Muslim customs and traditions against the will of their parents had observed that as per the Mohammedan law, a Muslim girl on attaining the age of puberty can marry without the consent of her parents.

While the Karnataka High Court denied bail to a Muslim man accused of raping a minor Muslim girl and observed that POCSO and IPC are substantiate acts and shall prevail over personal law.

Cause Title - Md. Sonu @ Sonu v. The State of Jharkhand & Ors.

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