People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 27

July 08, 2012




AIDWA Expresses Concern on Delhi HC Verdict


THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on June 8, 2012, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed its grave concern at the judgement delivered by the Delhi High Court regarding the marriageable age for Muslim girls, which, in effect, condones child marriage among them.


According to the AIDWA, scientific studies underlie 18 years as the suitable minimum age of marriage for girls, but yet the High Court has delivered a regressive judgement in this regard, invoking the Muslim Personal Laws, which is a setback for women’s rights. It would adversely impact the Muslim girls’ access to education, and increase their vulnerability to maternal mortality and morbidity. While the question of defending individual choice in marriage is important, the possibility of informed consent by a 15 year old girl is by itself highly suspect and cannot be upheld as a norm.


The AIDWA said the judgement sets an unfortunate precedent, which may pave way for child marriages in India in the guise of a girl’s consent. Moreover, Muslim Personal Laws are not codified in India and vary according to interpretation. This judgement only underscores the need for the codification of Muslim Personal Laws in India in the absence of which, many regressive practices are sought to be justified.


Saying that the HC has belied our hopes that the courts will help the process of gender justice for all, the AIDWA has made an appeal to the Delhi High Court to review its verdict in this regard.