Press Release on Delhi High Court Judgement on 8.6.12

ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION NO. 2253- E , SHADI KHAMPUR, NEW RANJIT NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110008 PH: 011-25700476, 25709565 Email :, 8th June 2012 PRESS RELEASE The AIDWA expresses its grave concern at the judgement delivered by the Delhi High court regarding marriageable age for Muslim girls, which in effect condones child marriage amongst them. Despite scientific studies underlying 18 years as the suitable minimum age of marriage for girls, the fact that the High Court has delivered this regressive judgement invoking Muslim Personal Laws is a setback for women’s rights, and would impact adversely on the muslim girls’ access to education, and increase her 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 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. The HC has belied our hopes that the courts will help the process of gender justice for all. AIDWA appeals to the Delhi High Court to review its verdict in this regard. Sd/- Sd/- ShyamaliGupta Sudha Sundararaman (President) (General Secretary)