Perils of Early Puberty
Decades ago when child marriage was prevalent, parents married off their daughters at 8-10 years and kept her till she attained puberty. In other words once sexually active she was sent off to her husband’s place. This meant teenage pregnancies, many children, deaths during child birth. While it still happens in parts of the country but post Independence Govt. made many laws including Hindu Marriage Act and Muslim Marriage Laws. Perhaps because law is a lady they also made a few to check crime against women:
- Child marriages is a criminal offence- She has to be 18 to marry
- Sex with a girl below 18 even with her consent is termed as Rape
Delhi High Court ruling that a Muslim girl at 15 can marry if she has attained puberty is going to make things dirty for the girl child. The verdict was given for a case where a 16 yr old who married a boy of her choice and wants to live with him against her parents’ consent. The court has also instructed the couple and in-laws to appear before the Child Welfare Committee once in every six months till the girl attains majority. How I wish HC also told the in-laws to ensure she completes education and does not bear a child till she turns 18. Why couldn’t they have restricted the verdict to this case only, why turn it into a ruling applicable to the community at large.
- · A Muslim girl’s parents want to marry her off at 15 and it is imposed on her?
- There is sex without consent in marriage and is forced?
Does it mean a Muslim girl:
- Is physically and mentally mature at 15?
- An early pregnancy will not pose risk to her health?
Who is responsible for:
- Her education & career?
- The husband decides to abandon her after an year or two?
Will law bridge the gap:
- The permissible age for a boy to marry in India is 21. So her husband could be anywhere 6 or more years older than her.
- More importantly, in each marriage where the girl is between 15-17 yrs will her husband and in laws expected to report to the nearby court reporting on the girl’s well being
On one hand the clerics and orthodox Muslim board welcome the decision. I hope the Supreme Court intervenes and issues a stay on the order. Else we will not even have words to say how sorry things will be…
Is this is not a compromise of her Fundamental Rights and Freedom? Are they not enough crime already happening against the girl child? In cases of baby Falak, Afreen what was the HC able to do which now it has gone ahead and given a clean slate to crush the already weak one?