Punjab and Haryana high court gives minor Muslim girl’s custody to Nuh SP

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The Punjab and Haryana high court has handed over the custody of a minor Muslim girl, who claimed to have not consummated her first marriage and then eloped with her lover and married him, to the Nuh superintendent of police and directed him to put set her up for counselling. The police officer was also been directed to send the counselling report to the high court.

“The SP Nuh is directed to take her in custody and lodge her in the Nari Niketan nearest to her residence. While in the Nari Niketan, she shall be put through counselling in the presence of petitioner No1 (the boy whom she had run away with and then married) and their respective parents/relatives and a report of the same be sent to this court on or before the next date of hearing,” ordered the HC while adjourning the case for July 23 for the next hearing. The HC, however, made it clear that the girl, stated to be16 years, is a minor. “It is also noticed that this marriage (if it can be called so) is her second marriage. Being a minor, the prohibition contained in Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 would be attracted as also the fact that the second marriage of a Muslim girl is void,” observed the HC.

Justice Sudhir Mittal also ordered the Nuh SP to ensure that no harm comes to the life and liberty of the runaway couple. He passed these orders while hearing a petition filed by 20-year-old Sahib and the 16-year-old girl (whose name is not being disclosed to protect her identity), from Ferozpur Jhirka tehsil of Nuh district in Haryana.

The runaway couple had sought directions to safeguard their life and liberty as they had got married against the wishes of the minor girl’s parents.
The HC was informed that both the petitioners were in a love relationship for the last year. She had requested her parents to solemnize her marriage with her boyfriend but her parents did not accept their relationship.

As per the petition, the couple tried their level best to convince the girl’s parents but all in vain. Her parents found a boy of their choice and solemnized her nikah against her will. However, according to the girl, she resisted and stayed at her parental house and did not leave the room until the ‘bridegroom’ and his family members left.

“This forceful nikah, performed by the girl’s parents, was not consummated and she had not cohabited with that boy,” their counsel told the court.

Thereafter, the girl eloped with her boyfriend, who too is a minor, and married him as per Muslim rites on May 17 with free consent at a masjid.
The counsel for the petitioners argued that the Muslim personal law allows marriage if the boy and the girl have attained puberty, which is presumed once they are both15 years of age.
The boy’s family members have no problem with his marriage and are supporting both the petitioners to carry forward their life in peace. However, the girl’s family allegedly has been harassing and interfering in their married life, the HC was informed.

Parents oppose:
The HC was informed that both the petitioners were in a love relationship for the last year. She had requested her parents to solemnize her marriage with her boyfriend but her parents did not accept their relationship.

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