CASE: Aisha Kumari v. State of N.C.T. of Delhi & Ors.
CORAM: Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh
The bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on a plea seeking directions for the declaration of Sec. 3(1) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 as ultra vires of the Constitution of India insofar as it makes child marriage ‘voidable’. It expressly seeks the declaration of child marriages performed in the state of Delhi to be ‘void ab initio’.
Aisha Kumari, petitioner, completed her B.Ed degree in 2018 from the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and took the entrance examination for admission into the M.Ed course at the Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi. She said that while she was in the 10th standard, she was forcibly married to her aunt’s son, by her and his parents. She also argued that she had “no option to go against her parents and community’s wishes, and despite her request, she was compelled to give her consent for the child marriage ceremony.”
She sought the protection of the court under its jurisdiction as parens patriae, and the intervention of the court to the extent that the declaration of marriage as null and void would protect her from the repercussions of said child marriage.
By citing the Karnataka government’s move in 2017 whereby it passed the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 2016, declaring child marriage as void ab initio, She also relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Independent Thought v. UOI 2017 10 SCC 800 to press the point that state of Delhi also needs to follow the suit.
She also stated that the Delhi government’s failure to declare child marriages as void ab initio was violative of the fundamental and human right to live with dignity.
“Under the doctrine of parens patriae the State is duty-bound to protect the interest and look after the well-being of children, particularly minor girls, who are most vulnerable,” she urged.