ARE YOUNG MUSLIM GIRLS CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD?
To break free from the shackles of backwardness, community leaders should question the HC judgment that legitimises a 15-year-old girl’s marriage
HEN THE phenomenally regressive Delhi High Court judgment was passed on 9 May stating that a 15-year-old Muslim girl’s marriage was legal, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board ( AIMPLB) was the first to hail it. If it enthuses the AIMPLB so much that a girl, who should ideally be going to school and learning life skills, is pushed into matrimony in order to harness her fertility at the first biological opportunity, then what business does it have to complain about Muslims being backward?
Arguably, 15 years and 10 months is not too young, given that many girls are known to become sexually active by that age. But a closer look at the judgment reveals that it does not set age as the benchmark, but menarche as the determining factor for when a Muslim girl can be legally married. Like a pet animal who we joyously send for mating once she is in “heat”. Sounds derogatory? It is.
It is exactly what the high court judgment can lead to, which in the name of cultural relativism propounds that “According to Mohammedan law, a girl can marry without the consent of her parents once she attains the age of puberty and she has the right to reside with her husband even if she is below the age of 18.”
Now consider its implications. It creates the possibility that in future, another court may decide to use Mohammedan law for issuing dehumanising punishments such as stoning for a Muslim woman charged with adultery or amputating the arm of a Muslim youth charged with theft.
With the age of puberty being consistently lowered, this judgment may well pave the way for young girls to be mar-