The Supreme Court today declined to stay a decision rendered by the Punjab & Haryana High Court which has held that a Muslim girl can marry a person of her choice on attainment of puberty and such marriage shall not be void on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of the Prohibhition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

A Bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha has issued notice on the plea filed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) while tagging it with similar pending pleas. Further, the Supreme Court said that it will examine the question of law involved.

Appearing on behalf of NCPCR, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “Girls who are 14,15,16 are getting married. Can there be a defence of personal laws? Milord, there may be a stay, at least”, which has challenged the judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court which had held that the marriage of a Muslim girl continues to be governed by the personal law of Muslims.

The girl has married her maternal Uncle. The moment we stay, she will be retorted back to her parents” observed the Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud while refusing to stay the impugned decision.

However, the Supreme Court ordered that “the impugned judgment shall not be relied upon as precedent”. The Court also sought the assistance of Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao who has been appointed as amicus curiae in similar pleas pending before the Court. “Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao is appointed amicus in the present case as well”, it further ordered.

The wife, in the present case, in her statement under 164 CrPC has stated that her marriage was performed out of her free will and without any pressure.

[I]t has been observed that 15 years is the age of puberty of a Muslim female, and on her own willingness and consent, after attaining puberty (15 years of age) can marry a person of her choice and such a marriage would not be void in terms of Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006”, observed the High Court while directing custody of 16-year-old wife detained in a children's home in Panchkula to her 26-year-old husband.

Cause Title- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) versus Javed