“Child marriage” at seventeen?

The ever-helpful Religion Clause blog reports a recent decision of the High Court of Madras that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 takes precedence over the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937. Selvam J dismissed an appeal against an order of the Perambalur Judicial Magistrate restraining the marriage of one Shahila Baanu, aged seventeen, and upholding an order of a district child welfare officer preventing her marriage. Under sharia, a girl may marry at fifteen, when she is presumed to have reached puberty; however, Selvam J declared that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act “crossed all barriers of personal law irrespective of personal law. The marriage of a girl is prohibited until the age of 18.”  Continue reading