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SC agrees to examine plea of married Muslim girl kept in UP shelter home

SC agrees to examine plea of married Muslim girl kept in UP shelter home

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the plea of a "minor" Muslim girl, who has been ordered to stay in a shelter home for women in Uttar Pradesh, after her marriage was found to be void by the Allahabad High Court.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the girl, who is 16-years-old as per a medical report, against the high court's July order which dismissed her petition against a trial court directive sending her to a shelter home at Ayodhya.

The high court had dismissed her plea against the trial court's order observing that since she was a "minor" her case would be dealt with in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 and as she did not want to join her parents, the order sending her to the shelter home was correct.

The girl, in her plea in the top court, has said that as per Mohammedan Law, once a female attains the age of puberty, that is 15 years, she is independent to take decisions for her life and is competent to marry any one of her own choice. A bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi has agreed to examine her plea and has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking its response.

The girl, through her lawyer Dushyant Parashar, has said that the high court failed to appreciate the fact that her 'nikah' is in accordance with the Mohammaden Law.

The plea, which said that her right to life and liberty may be protected, contended that she is in love with a man and they performed 'Nikah' in accordance with the Mohammadan Law in June this year.

Her father lodged a police complaint alleging that his daughter has been kidnapped by the man and his associates.

Thereafter, the girl recorded her statement before a magistrate in which she said that she had married the man out of her free will and wanted to stay with him. The trial court had directed that she be sent to the child welfare committee for safe custody and protection until she attains the age of 18.

Referring to an earlier apex court judgement, the plea has said that the girl may be permitted to lead conjugal life with her husband.

The plea said that the "high court ought to have appreciated the statement of the girl made under section 164 CrPC, wherein the girl has explicitly expressed her desire to stay with her husband and further has explicitly stated that she married out of her free will and none of the family member of her husband has enticed her".

It said that the girl should be freed from the shelter home during the pendency of the appeal before the top court.

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