High Court (India)

March 06, 2019

Child Marriages, too, have to be compulsorily registered: Kerala HC


interfaith_marriages

The circulars issued by local self-government authorities of the Kerala government making it mandatory for under age marriages, too, to be registered, have been upheld by the Kerala HC.

Writ petitions were filed by the Punarjani Charitable Trust and others seeking quashing of circulars issued by local self-government authorities. A bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar heard these writ petitions, which made it clear that there was no legal impediment in registering Muslim marriages where the male had not attained 21 years and the female had not attained 18 years on the basis of the certificate of religious authority as per the Kerala Registration of Marriage (Common) Rules, 2008.

The Government of Kerala had encouraged solemnization of child marriages in violation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, the bench contended.

Referring to the Seema v. Ashwani Kumar case, the bench noted that registering a marriage provided evidence of the marriage having taken place.

The bench rejected the petitions against the circulars and said, "We are unable to accept the argument advanced by the learned counsel that the circulars would fail the objectives of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. As a matter of fact, the registration of even child marriages, in our perception, would ensure that there is better transparency and adequate proof to penalise the offenders under the Prohibition of the Child Marriage Act."

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