Court denies bail to a 31-yr-old man charged under the Act for allegedly abducting, and impregnating a minor girl
The Kerala High Court ruled that if one of the parties in a Muslim marriage is a minor, the offense will come under the POCSO Act. Muslim marriages under personal law are not excluded from the POCSO Act and sexual intercourse with a child, even if it is under the guise of marriage, is an offense, the Kerala High Court has said.
The court denied bail to a 31-year-old man charged under the Act for allegedly abducting and impregnating a 15-year-old minor girl whom he claims he had married.
In his ruling related to a case, Justice B K Thomas said that in a marriage between Muslims, if a minor is there, it cannot be excluded under the POCSO Act. “I am of the considered view that marriage between Muslims under personal law is not excluded from the sweep of the POCSO Act. If one of the parties to the marriage is a minor, irrespective of the validity or otherwise of the marriage, offenses under the POCSO Act will apply,” Justice Thomas said in an order issued on November 18.
Under the Act, sexual exploitation in any manner against a child is looked up as an offense and is not excluded from the sweep of the statute.
The case surfaced when the local health authorities at Thiruvalla registered a complaint that a girl nearing 16 years (as per Aadhaar Card records) had come for injection and was found to be pregnant. But Rehman claimed that the wedding took place in his home state in March 2021 under Muslim law, but the police informed the court that according to her parents no such marriage had taken place.
However, the court pointed out that Muslims who attain puberty were allowed to marry under their traditional law, but it was questionable if the personal law would prevail over special legislation like the POCSO Act.
Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas, in his order dismissing the bail, said child marriage is a bane of society and the POCSO Act is to prohibit physical relationships with a child, even under cover of marriage.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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