New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday sought the response of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on a plea to declare all child marriages performed in the national capital as void ab initio (to be treated as invalid from the outset).
A bench of chief justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand on the petition by a woman who has also sought to nullify her marriage which was allegedly performed when she was a minor.
The court also issued notice to her father, brother and the man she was married to seeking their response to the plea before February 12, the next date of hearing.
The woman, represented by advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, has challenged a provision of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act which makes a wedding of minors voidable only at the option of either of the parties who was a child at the time of the event.
The petitioner has sought a declaration from the court that every child marriage performed in the state should be void ab-initio.
Mir, during the hearing, told the bench that his client was staying at an undisclosed location as she apprehended that her family would force her to agree to the child marriage which was performed in April 2010 when she was a minor.
The petitioner, also represented by advocates Gurpreet Singh, Mohit D Ram, Bakul Jain and Jatin Sethi, further claims that the person to whom she was married, when she was a minor, was the son of her maternal aunt.
The woman, who claims to be born on December 10, 1993, has contended that when her marriage was performed in April 2010 she had no option but to give her consent as at that time she was awaiting her class 10 results and could not go against her parents wish.
The woman, who takes private tuitions for specially-abled students, said she was residing peacefully with her parents till November 19, 2020, when the person to whom she was married to as a child came with his parents to take her to Gujarat with them.
When she objected, she was allegedly beaten up by her brother in front of everyone at the behest of the man she was married to.
Subsequently, she escaped from her home on November 20, 2020, and is in hiding ever since, the petition has said, and has also sought protection for the woman from the respondent and her family.