Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) are secular legislations, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo tweeted, responding to Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi's tweet that the use of POCSO Act against those involved in child marriage is Assam is "reprehensible" and "motivated".

The NCPCR Chairperson also said that viewing those laws through the spectacle of communalism is "appeasement".

Priyank Kanoongo tweeted, “Prohibition of Child Marriage act and POCSO both are secular legislation and are weapons for child protection. Seeing these laws through the spectacle of communalism is appeasement.”

Dr. Singhvi tweeted on Sunday, “#Child marriage eradication v good if neutral & unbiased. But dangerous if motivated by skewed anti minoritism. Hindus do same in several states. Must be even handed. Use of #POCSO reprehensible &motivated. Vital need for rehab & looking after of uprooted families. #Assam”.

Dr. Singhvi’s tweet came after NCPCR Chief lauded the Assam Government’s action against child marriages saying that the initiative is appreciated and that other state governments should follow the same.

The Assam government recently launched a major state-wide crackdown on child marriages. The state has arrested around 2,500 people for marrying minor girls or facilitating such marriages.

Today, the Supreme Court issued notice on the pleas by the NCPCR and the National Commission for Women (NCW) challenging a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that a Muslim girl can marry at the age of 16 as per the Mohammedan Law.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had held that a Muslim girl can marry a person of her choice after attaining puberty (15 years of age).

The Jharkhand High Court had in December 2022 held that a Muslim girl can marry at the age of 15 years to a person of her choice as per Muslim Personal Law.

However, the other High Courts had divergent views with regard to this issue. In October 2022, the Karnataka High Court while denying bail to a Muslim man accused of raping a minor Muslim girl observed that POCSO and IPC are substantiating acts and shall prevail over personal law.

The Delhi High Court in July 2022 held that the age of puberty as per Muslim law is not applicable to the POCSO Act while refusing to quash an FIR relating to the rape of a 16-year-old girl.

The Uttarakhand High Court also sought a reply from the State and the Central governments on a PIL praying that marriages of girls under 18 years of age, permitted under Muslim law, must be declared illegal.