15-year-old Muslim girl free to marry person of her choice: HC

Muslim girls aged 15 or above have the liberty to marry the person of their choice without any interference from their guardians. This is the ruling of the Jharkhand High Court, referring to Muslim Personal Law. The court made this observation while quashing criminal proceedings based on an FIR lodged against a Muslim youth who married a 15-year-old girl from his community.

In the FIR, Mohd Sonu, 24, a resident of Nawada in Bihar, was accused of coaxing a 15-year-old Muslim girl of Jugsalai in Jamshedpur’s Jharkhand, to marry him.

Sonu challenged the criminal proceedings based on the FIR, filed by the girl’s father, and approached the Jharkhand High Court with a quash petition.

However, during the hearing, the girl’s father submitted that he was not opposed to the marriage. Thanking Allah “for arranging a suitable match” for his daughter, the man said he filed an FIR against Sonu “due to some misunderstanding”.

In fact, the lawyer representing the girl’s family also told the court that both families have accepted the marriage. After hearing both parties, Justice Dwivedi ordered cancelling the FIR and criminal proceedings against Sonu.

The High Court in its verdict, made available on Wednesday, said matters related to the marriage of Muslim girls are governed by the Muslim Personal Law Board, adding in the context of this particular case that the girl is 15 years old, and she is free to marry the person of her choice.