The Karnataka High Court annulled the marriage of a pregnant minor Muslim girl stating that the religion’s personal law is invalid as it violates provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, or POCSO, Act, reported Live Law on Sunday.
The High Court was hearing a bail plea of a man, married to the Muslim girl, when it rejected the argument that her marriage under the personal law after getting 15 years old will not contravene the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
Justice Rajendra Badamikar also observed that POCSO Act is a special Act and that it overrides personal laws. Under POCSO Act, the legal age of involving in sexual activities for a woman is 18.
The man has, however, been granted bail.
The case came to light when the 17-year-old girl was found pregnant during a medical checkup at Primary Health Centre in Karnataka, reported the Hindustan Times.
Since the girl was not an adult, the health official informed the police following which a case under the POCSO Act was registered against the minor’s husband. The complaint accused him of marrying and impregnating a minor girl.
However, the High Court observed that the girl was a consenting party since there was no evidence to show that she raised any objections to her marriage.
In his bail application, the petitioner said that under the Mohammedan Law, puberty is the consideration for marriage and normal puberty age is treated as 15 years, reported the Hindustan Times.
The petition said that since the girl had attained puberty at the time of her marriage under the personal law, no offense was made under the POCSO Act, reported Live Law.
“Admittedly, the petitioner is the husband of the victim and looking to these facts and circumstances, there is no serious dispute regarding the marriage as the petitioner himself has produced the relevant documents before the trial,” Badamikar said.