A Muslim couple aged 16 and 21 years were given protection by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after they petitioned the court saying their “life and liberty are in grave danger” because they married against the wishes of their family. The couple got married on June 8 according to Muslim rites and ceremonies and stated in their petition that in Muslim law, puberty and majority are one and the same and that there is a presumption that a person attains majority at the age of 15 years.
“The Court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the apprehension of the petitioners needs to be addressed. Merely because the petitioners have got married against the wishes of their family members, they cannot possibly be deprived of the fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution of India,” the single-judge bench of Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi said in its order.
The petition had also contended that a Muslim boy or Muslim girl who has attained puberty is at liberty to marry any one he or she likes and the guardian has no right to interfere.
“As per Article 195 from the book ‘Principles of Mohammedan Law by Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mulla’, the petitioner No.2 being over 16 years of age was competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice. Petitioner No.1 is stated to be more than 21 years of age. Thus, both the petitioners are of marriageable age as envisaged by Muslim Personal Law,” the judge further said.
The order clarifies that the issue in hand is not with regard to the validity of the marriage but to address the apprehension raised by the petitioners of danger to their life and liberty at the hands of the private respondents and to provide them protection as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
It issued a direction to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Pathankot to take necessary action as per the law.