Today's Paper

Court validates minor couple's marriage

Exercising its discretion for protection of the interests of minor couples, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday allowed a young couple to stay as husband and wife, holding that the 18-year-old husband was capable of taking care of his 16-year-old wife.

Observing that a distinction has to be made between a child marriage forced by the parents and one which is solemnised as a result of minors falling in love, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice B. D. Ahmed and Justice V. K. Jain said the former was a scourge of society while the latter is a reality which has to be accepted.

However, the Bench at the same time urged the State to educate and caution teenaged children about early marriage and the huge liabilities it puts on them. But when such marriages do take place, they might require a different treatment, the Bench added. It further said that due to the freedom enjoyed by children in modern society or the impact of Western culture or movies, they are falling in love and getting married early in their lives. The judgment came on a petition by Jeetender Sharma, husband of 16-year-old Poonam Sharma, seeking custody of his wife. The wife was also in favour of going along with him in defiance of her family.

While deciding on their fate, the Bench gave paramount importance to the welfare of the minor couple. Besides that, the Bench said the relevant law also permits a minor husband to be the guardian of his minor wife.

The Bench further said that the age of a minor couple is not one of the conditions in the relevant law for declaring such a marriage void. It can be declared void only when either the wife or the husband seeks dissolution of his or her marriage on the ground of either of the two being a minor.

Allowing the couple to live together along with the boy's father who has no objection to the marriage, the Bench said that there was no other ground to find the boy unfit for taking care of his wife except his being a minor.

Another important factor which weighed with the Bench to see the couple happily married was the readiness of the boy's family to welcome the teenaged girl as their daughter-in-law.

The couple had married in March this year. The sister of the boy is married to the paternal uncle of the girl's father.

Recommended for you