The Kerala High Court has held that marriage of minors under Muslim Personal Law is not outside the purview of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. If the bride or groom is a minor and even though the marriage is valid, offenses under the POCSO Act will apply.
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The Single Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas further observed, “The POCSO Act is a special legislation specifically designed to protect children from sexual offences. Every form of sexual abuse against a child is considered an offence. not excluded.”
He further added, “The POCSO Act is a special law. The law has been enacted as a result of progress and progress achieved in social thinking. This special law was enacted on the basis of principles derived from jurisprudence relating to child abuse. Child abuse laws are weak, naïve -Spare and protect the innocent child. The legislative intent to protect the child from sexual predators under various modes including marriage is clearly evident from the statutory provisions.”
The court also said that child marriage has been considered a violation of human rights. Due to child marriage, the child is not able to develop properly. This is an evil of the society. The POCSO Act prevents people from having physical relations with children even under the guise of marriage. This is also the intention of the society. As it is often said, a law is an expression or reflection of the will of the people. In accomplishment of this intention, the POCSO Act has defined the word ‘child’ in section 2(d) as ‘any person below the age of 18 years’.
The court said, “Personal law and customary law are both laws. However, section 42A has the power to override such laws as well. Therefore, sexual intercourse with a child after marriage is an offense.” said during the hearing on the bail application of a Muslim man from K. This man has a case of kidnapping and rape of a minor girl. It argued in the bail application that he had legally married the minor girl in March 2021 under the Muslim Personal Law Was married.
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