The matter came before Justice Bahl after the husband filed a Habeas Corpus petition seeking the release of the detained wife, who was in custody at Ashiana Home, Sector 16, Panchkula. The Bench was told that both the petitioner and the detainee belonged to the Muslim religion and had performed ‘nikah’ on July 27 at a mosque in Mani Majra.

The opposing counsel countered by stating that the detainee’s date of birth was found to be March 15, 2006. She was a minor under 18 years of age. The motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that she was rightfully detained in Ashiana’s home prayed.

Justice Bahl has made an assertion mentioning the fact that as per the statement of detainee under section 164 Cr.P.C made to the Judicial Magistrate (First class), Panchkula on 28 July, She stated that her family forcefully betrothed her to her maternal uncle but she performed ‘nikah’ with the petitioner and did not want to stay with her family. In fact, she was married to the petitioner and wished to live with him.

Justice Bahl relied on the view of coordinate bench of the High Court in the Yunus Khan’s case and asserted that when a girl attains the age of puberty she is free to marry anyone with her own “willingness and consent” and such marriage will not fall under section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, hence petition was allowed and directions were made to hand over the minor muslim girl’s custody to her husband.

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