Muslim Personal Law can`t override criminal law: Court
New Delhi: Holding that Muslim Personal Law cannot "override" criminal law, a Delhi court has rejected the bail plea of a Muslim man, accused of kidnapping and raping his 17-year-old lover belonging to the same community.
The court said that the law of the land should be applied uniformly on all and constitutional concept of equality before law cannot be diluted by one set of legislation for Muslims and a different one for non-Muslims.
"Merely because both the girl and the accused happen to be from the same religion i.E. Muhammadan whose Personal Law provides for a different age of marriage than the one provided under the statutory law of the land, does not mean any special indulgence is required to be given to the accused in so far as criminal law of this land is concerned," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.
Under the Muslim Personal Law, a girl can marry as per her choice if she has attained puberty.
"I may observe that India is governed by secular concepts provided under the Constitution and Sharia cannot override the same. The Muslim Personal Law only applies to cases relating to marriage, divorce and personal relations but has no applicability in case of a criminal liability," the judge said.
The court`s observation came while dismissing the bail plea of a man, accused in a kidnapping and rape case of a 17-year-old girl.
The accused told the court that the girl was in love with him and they wanted to marry but this was not acceptable to her parents and she went to Jaipur with him of her own will. He admitted that they had developed physical relations there and thereafter the girl had returned to her home.
He also said that the girl had given her statement against him under her parents` pressure but now both the families are ready to solemnize their marriage and the dispute has been resolved between them.
He was arrested under provisions of the IPC dealing with kidnapping and the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act dealing with sexual assault.
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