Read Order: Farmina @ Parmina and another v. State of Haryana and others 

 LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 29, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted police protection to a Muslim couple from their family members who were miffed at the duo for getting married against their wishes.

However, since there was no accurate proof of age of either of the two before the High Court, it held that if any party is found below legally marriageable age, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act does not prevent action against them regardless of any religion or their personal laws permitting it. 

The HC observed that there was no firm proof of age of either of the petitioners other than their Aadhar Cards, which is actually no firm proof of age as no documentary proof is usually asked for at the time of applying for an Aadhar card or the issuance thereof.

“Hence, if upon verification, the age of either of the petitioners is found to be below the marriageable age in terms of the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, this order shall not be construed to be a bar on any proceedings initiated under that Act, offences committed under that Act being cognizable in terms of Section 15 thereof,” said the bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh.

The HC further stated that “It is of course to be observed by this court that both the petitioners are shown to be Muslims (as has also been contended by learned counsel appearing for the them) and therefore as per Muslim Personal Law, a girl can enter into a marriage upon attaining puberty.”

“Even so, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, does not differentiate (as regards legally marriageable age), between any religion or faith and consequently, though otherwise it may be only a voidable marriage and not a void one in terms of the said Act, yet, if any party to such marriage (especially a female) is found to be below legally marriageable age in terms of the said Act, i.e. below 18 years of age, belonging to any particular faith would not preclude proceedings under the Act,” observed the bench.

It further stated that “It is however to be reiterated that even so, a marriage entered into by a minor (regardless of religion or faith), would be only voidable at the instance of the minor upon attaining majority (unless it falls within the prohibition/exceptions contained in Sections 12 and 14 of the said Act).”

Further, it is made clear that if any of the averments made in the petition is found to be incorrect, specifically with regard to either the petitioners being in any prohibited relationship to each other, or as regards their previous marital status, this order shall not be construed to be a bar on proceedings initiated as per law, the bench held.

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