Marriages of minors should be declared void: Court

August 5th, 2008 - 11:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday said that marriages involving minors should be declared void, and also questioned the legality of such marriages in Indian society. “We hesitate to agree with the observation passed by the division bench of this court on account of the fact that although there may be different definitions of the word ‘child’ with regard to the age of the minor in different enactments, the purpose of each enactment has to be examined,” the court said.

In view of the contradictions among judges, a division bench comprising Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice V.K.Shali referred the matter to the chief justice for constituting a full bench of the court to hear the matter.

“We are of the view that a question of public importance is involved in the matter which needs consideration by a full bench,” the court said.

The bench passed the order while hearing a plea of the father of a minor girl who was allegedly kidnapped by a man who married her.

Referring to previous orders of the court where such marriages were upheld and the minor was allowed to live with her husband, the bench expressed its disagreement with this.

The bench said in such cases, the provisions of the Prevention of Child Marriage Act should be given utmost importance. The act says such marriages are null and void and should invite prosecution.

The order also pointed out that enticing away a minor girl from her lawful guardian to marry her is a criminal offence.

Framing questions to be decided by the larger bench, the court asked whether a marriage contracted by minors could be said to be a valid marriage.

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