The Kerala High Court has said a big thing while hearing the bail plea of an accused regarding Muslim Personal Law and child marriage. The court has said that even if the accused is a Muslim, the POCSO Act applies to him. Marriage between Muslims under personal law is not outside the purview of the POCSO Act. The court said that if the husband makes a relationship with a minor wife, then a case can be registered against him under the POCSO Act.
A single bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas of the Kerala High Court, while giving its verdict on the bail plea of an accused, said on Friday that if the girl is a minor then the offense under the POCSO Act would be applicable. The Kerala Court has rejected the bail plea of an accused arrested for raping a 16-year-old girl. According to the aggrieved party, the accused abducted the minor girl and sexually assaulted her several times. The 31-year-old man then married the minor.
The accused in his plea said that he was legally married to the girl and the Muslim Personal Law Board allows marriage of girls from the community after attaining puberty. He cannot be prosecuted under the POCSO Act. The accused argued that he had married the girl in March 2021 and made her his legal partner under the personal laws applicable to them. He also cited earlier judgments of the Haryana, Delhi and Karnataka High Courts in support of his claim, but the court rejected all his arguments.
The Kerala High Court, after hearing the arguments of the accused, said that if one of the parties to the marriage is a minor, then irrespective of the validity of the marriage, offenses under the POCSO Act would be considered. Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas said that he does not agree with the decisions of other courts. The POCSO Act was made very thoughtfully. It is against child marriage and child sexual abuse. According to this, it is a legal offense to have physical relations with a minor even after marriage. Giving all these arguments, the court rejected the bail plea of the accused.
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