Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Child Marriage Act overrides Muslim Personal Law

The Karnataka high court on Tuesday ruled that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) has overriding effect over the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law, where the marriage of a girl child is allowed once she attains puberty.

Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri, sitting at the Dharwad circuit bench, dismissed a petition in this regard while upholding the state government's contention that PCMA provisions had far-reaching and overriding power vis-a-vis personal laws.

Additional advocate general K M Nataraj, who appeared on behalf of the state, told the court that the personal laws of any religion should make way for the statutory provisions under the PCMA. He said the girl (the petitioner) could not be permitted to marry as she had not completed 18 years of age, a requirement under the PCMA.

Seema Begum, a 17-year-old girl represented by her father, had filed a petition seeking a declaration that the PCMA was not applicable to Muslims. Her contention was that the Muslim Personal Law permitted the marriage of a girl after she attained puberty. She had also complained against Koppal district authorities who prevented her marriage ceremony citing PCMA provisions.

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