NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned Uttar Pradesh home secretary to seek clarification on the state’s stand on a petition filed by a 16-year-old Muslim girl against an Allahabad High Court order nullifying her marriage.
The petitioner has challenged the HC decision to term the marriage as invalid and send her to a shelter home because she was not of legal marriageable age contending that the age of puberty under the Islamic law is 15 years.
The legal age of marriage in India is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys — both under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
When the matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices N V Ramana and Ajay Rastogi, the UP government’s counsel sought time to file the response.
“We are forced to compel the appearance of Secretary (Home, of UP) to appear personally before us on Monday (September 23),” the bench said as despite granting time to the state counsel for filing reply on the plea, the lawyer has not received proper instruction from the department concerned.
In the Shafin Jahan case, the apex court had ruled that a Muslim marriage was valid if the following conditions were met — both individuals practised Islam, were of the age of puberty, if there was an offer and acceptance in the presence of two witnesses, giving of ‘mehr’ and absence of a prohibited degree of relationship.