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POCSO overrides Muslim personal law Karnataka HC rules in case relating to Muslim girl’s marriage

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New Delhi, Oct 31: There has been a widespread demand for a Uniform Civil Code in the country. Amidst this the Karnataka High Court has ruled that the marriage of a Muslim minor girl is invalid as it violates the POCSO Act. The Muslim Personal Law however allows the marriage of Muslim girls above the age of 15 years.

POSCO overrides Muslim personal law Karnataka HC rules in case relating to Muslim girl’s marriage

The argument of the defendant was rejected in a case involving a minor Muslim girl. Justice Rajendra Badamikar said that the The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences overrides the provision of the personal law. As per the law, the legal age for any woman to get involved in sexual activities is 18 years.

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The court also said that POCSO is a special act and it overrides personal law which is based on Sharia Law. As she was found to be a minor, the police had filed a case against her husband and he had been arrested.

While seeking bail the man contended that he had not violated any law as under the Mohammadan Law, girls who have attained puberty are considered eligible for marriage and 15 years is normally the accepted age of puberty.

The case on hand relates to a 17 year old Muslim girl who had gone to a primary health centre for a medical checkup where she was fond to be pregnant. She had approached the centre on June 16 2022 where she was found to be pregnant. She informed the health care officials that she was 17 years old. The sub-inspector of the KR Puram police station had filed a complaint against the accused husband.

The accused argued that since the girl had attained puberty there was no basis for the case under Sections 9 and 10 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

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The court was however not satisfied with the argument and said that POCSO is a Special Act and overrides the personal law. POCSO says that the legal age for a girl to be involved in sexual activities is 18 years.

The court however granted bail to the accused stating that the girl was 17 years of age and is capable of understanding many things. Moreover there was no evidence to suggest that she had objected to the marriage.

"Admittedly, the petitioner is the husband of the victim and looking at these facts and circumstances, there is no serious dispute regarding the marriage as the petitioner himself has produced the relevant documents before the Trial," the judge said.

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