Orders police to lodge her in a Home until she attains majority

The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday refused to send a 17-year-old minor girl along with her “husband” despite the girl confirming to have married him and expressing unwillingness to go along with her father.

Passing interim orders in a habeas corpus petition filed by A. Ganesh of Melur taluk who claimed to be her husband, a Division Bench of Justice S. Tamilvanan and Justice V.S. Ravi said the marriage between the couple was not valid in law. They directed the police to lodge the girl in a women’s home until she becomes a major on April 15 this year and produce her before the court the next day for passing final orders in the case. Permitting her to go along with the petitioner would be against the law, the judges said.

Though the petitioner’s counsel produced a Delhi High Court order permitting a minor girl to go along with her lover, the Division Bench said that the order cited by the counsel was only per incuriam (a judgement passed without reference to statutory provisions) and not a ratio decidendi (a reasoned decision).

Writing the interim order for the Bench, Mr. Justice Tamilvanan said that a marriage involving a minor girl would be a nullity in the eye of law and there was no necessity even to obtain a divorce decree with regard to such a marriage.

“On the said facts and circumstances, permitting a minor girl to go along with her lover in our view is against law and would not meet the ends of justice. She would be at liberty to take a decision only on attaining majority,” the Bench said.

The judges also chose to rely upon the Class X certificate of the girl to determine her age though the petitioner produced a doctor’s opinion to prove that she had attained majority. “The doctor’s opinion cannot prevail over a certificate issued by the School Education department,” the judges added.

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