Perils of Early Puberty

June 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm 7 comments

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.

What if:

  • · 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?


Entry filed under: COL- Circle of Life!, Me & Media. Tags: , , , .

Against the tide The Tourist

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chintan Gupta  |  June 8, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I can never make sense of these religion based stupid laws. This can certainly have serious repercussions. Only If !!

  • 2. Kartikay  |  June 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’m quite surprised that the HC came out with such a ruling. We must protest against this – it’s sets a wrong precedent for many more cases to come!

    • 3. delhideveloper  |  June 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

      And how do we protest? To what end? Our laws have blatantly divided us into sects and castes. Our actions are judged by the God we believe in? Our nation’s laws and acts are a compromise. Nothing more.

      • 4. Kartikay  |  June 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

        In an actively functioning democracy like India, raising your voice and gaining a mass following for your motive can help move mountains.

        Having said that, I don’t believe it’s so wrong to say that our nation’s laws have been compromises: they always have been. Between the left and the right, between the right and wrong, there are very thin lines and it’s for the law to define them. The goal, of course, is to look forward to a common consensus.

        The problem I have with this case is that it is regressive – going against the positive developments in the field of child marriage.

  • 5. delhizen  |  June 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @Chintan, Kartikay & Delhi Developer : read this opinion piece published in today’s The Hindu ‘Islamic law does not sanction child marriage’

    Lets hope the Supreme Court will intervene and scrap off the judgement.

  • 7. aquaturtleme  |  September 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    such a ruling can only increase the atrocities against women, who already r suffering from existing laws prevailing in that community….

    first time i’m visiting ur blog… liked the way u voice up issues


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