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Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

Islamic law cannot override criminal law: Court

Court makes observation while dismissing bail plea of boy accused of kidnapping minor girl

The boy’s family says the couple were in love and that they had eloped to Jaipur for three days and wanted to get married.

The girl’s family says the boy kidnapped and raped their minor daughter. The boy’s lawyer argues that the girl,aged 17 years and 7 months,was capable of giving consent and deciding whom she wanted to marry under Islamic law. The judge holds that Islamic law cannot dictate the line between marriage and rape.

A city court on Tuesday refused to release the boy on bail on the ground that the girl in her statement to the court had said that he had taken her to Jaipur for three days and that they had had sexual relations for the duration of their stay there.

Dismissing his bail application,Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau mentioned at length that Islamic law could not override the criminal law of the country.

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The accused has been booked under charges of kidnapping and rape under Indian Penal Code and charges of penetrative sexual assault under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

The court held that though both the boy and the girl were Muslims,arguments on basis of Islamic law were not proper in the case.

“Courts cannot permit exploitative regressive practices to flourish and prosper in the name of religion. No person can be permitted to make a mockery of the secular criminal laws of India nor can any offender be permitted to take short-cuts by resorting to selective application of Sharia and personal laws in order to evade criminal liability under the existing personal laws,” Judge Lau said.

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The judge referred to the age of consent for marriage under Muslim personal law,which is much lower than the age prescribed under other laws,but held that “ there is,as much need to protect young Muslim women from sexual abuse and exploitation as any other women in India.”

“Muslim parents are as much entitled to protect their minor daughters from sexual abuse and exploitation as any other citizen,irrespective of religious considerations. No separate parameters can be adopted for Muslim offenders only because the complainant happens to be from the same religion,” the court said.

Judge Lau also held that accepting the arguments under Islamic law in this particular case would defeat the purpose for enacting POCSO.

First published on: 26-09-2013 at 02:26:48 am
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