AIDWA statement on the Delhi High court judgement of 9-5-2012

ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION NO. 2253- E , SHADI KHAMPUR, NEW RANJIT NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110008 PH: 011-25700476, 25709565 Email :, Press Release 12 June 2012 AIDWA statement on the Delhi High court judgement of 9-5-2012 The Delhi high court has clearly allowed Shumaila to exercise her choice of residing with her husband. It has also directed the presence of Mehtab, Shumaila and either of her in-laws once in six months, in order to ascertain her well being, till she attains the age of majority before the Child Welfare Committee. The Committee has to take necessary steps including obtaining the necessary undertaking from Mehtab in that regard. Subject to completion of these steps, (which shall be within a week) Shumaila shall be allowed to live with Mehtab, in the matrimonial home. However, she has the option of treating the marriage as voidable, at the time of her attaining the age of majority, i.e 18 years. The AIDWA, while accepting the judgement of the Delhi high court in this particular case, expresses grave concern as the judgement invokes Muslim Personal laws which will sanction child marriages and lend credibility to it. Parents forcing their minor daughters to marry the boys of their choice against their wishes will be justified on the background of this judgement. In such marriages there is no monitoring by any Child Welfare committees nor does the girl have any recourse to end the marriage if she desires to do so on attaining 18 years of age. While AIDWA welcomes the stand adopts by the Court towards self choice marriages and also it's concern for the girls welfare it is strongly opposed to the sanction awarded to child marriage under shari'a law. This is totally unacceptable as it will lead to arranged child marriages of Muslim girls and of course with no safeguards at all. We cannot accept relaxation of the minimum age of marriage for Muslim girls. Moreover, Muslim Personal laws are not codified in India and vary according to interpretations. 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. Sd/- Sd/- Shyamali Gupta Sudha Sundararaman (President) (General Secretary)