The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government on the demand of increasing the minimum age of marriage for Muslim women to 18 years. The court has issued this notice on the petition of the National Commission for Women (NCW). Under Muslim personal law, a girl can be married at the age of puberty or 15 years.
The Women’s Commission has also said that in cases like Rape, POCSO Act, all women below 18 years are considered minors, but due to Muslim Personal Law, there is a problem in its implementation. On August 17, the Delhi High Court upheld the marriage of a 15-year-old Muslim girl and a 25-year-old Muslim youth. In this case, the girl’s family had filed a case against the young man under sections of rape and POCSO Act, but after the court’s order, the young man got relief. The National Commission for Women has cited this matter in its petition
What did the Women’s Commission demand?
The Women’s Commission has demanded that all sections of the criminal law should be applicable to people of all religions. The petition also states that the age for girls to become adults and get married is 18 years in normal laws. The laws of all other religions allow marriage at this age, but the situation is different in Muslim personal law.
Answer sought from the center
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra appeared in the court to plead the petition, but even before starting the arguments on her behalf, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha issued a notice on the matter. The court has given 4 weeks time to the central government to reply.
Earlier, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had sought clarity citing a similar decision from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On that matter also, another bench of the Supreme Court has issued a notice. It is expected that in future both the cases may be heard together.