While dealing with a Muslim couple who was being harassed by the kin of the girl despite being married as per religious customs in Bihar, the Delhi High Court has emphasised that a lawfully married couple cannot be denied each other’s company. Justice Jasmeet Singh, who was the presiding judge, further stated that the couple being in each other’s company is the essence of the marriage and that the state cannot enter their private space.
“It is thus clear that as per Mohammedan Law, a girl who had attained the age of puberty could marry without the consent of her parents and had the right to reside with her husband even when she was less than 18 years of age and thus otherwise minor girl,” the HC noted. It further instructed the authorities to ensure the safety and protection of the couple, noting that the wife is pregnant.
The wife was 15 years old at the time of the marriage and was regularly beaten up by her parents at home. She was also forced to marry someone else. The HC stated that the state should protect the best interest of the female petitioner, adding that separating the couple will cause trauma to the wife and her unborn child.
The HC has also highlighted that the status report given by the police showed that the parties were living with each other as husband and wife and didn’t have sex prior to their marriage. Had the couple engaged in any sexual relation before the marriage, the husband would have attracted law against sex with a minor, which is termed rape under the law.