"This Court notes that according to Mohammedan Law a girl can marry without the consent of her parents once she attains the age of puberty and she has the right to reside with her husband even if she is below the age of 18....," a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and SP Garg said.
Citing various Supreme Court judgements on the issue of minor Muslim girls' marriage, the bench said "In view of the above judgments, it is clear that a Muslim girl who has attained puberty i.e. 15 years can marry and such a marriage would not be a void marriage. However, she has the option of treating the marriage as voidable, at the time of her attaining the age of majority, i.e., 18 years."
Accepting the 16-year-old girl's plea to allow her to stay in her matrimonial home, the bench has disposed of a habeas corpus petition filed by the girl's mother alleging that her daughter was kidnapped by a youth and forced into marriage in April last year.
The bench accepted the girl's statement she had left her parental home of her own will to marry the man of her choice and her husband should not be booked on the charge of kidnapping.
Meanwhile, to ascertain the girl's well being, the court has directed the couple and in-laws to appear before the Child Welfare Committee once in every six months till the girl attains majority.
"The Committee shall take necessary steps, including obtaining the necessary undertaking from the man(husband) in this regard. Subject to completion of these steps, the girl be allowed to live in her matrimonial home," the bench said.
The girl has been currently residing in Nirmal Chhaya, a government sponsored home for rehabilitation of poor and elderly women.