A minor pregnant girl and 28-year-old truck driver got married on the premises of a court in Birbhum district on Wednesday as their families wanted to “settle the issue”.
Sources said the 17-year-old girl had become pregnant seven months ago and lodged a police complaint against the youth under Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences POCSO act after he had refused to marry her. The youth was held and remanded in judicial custody till Thursday morning before their wedding in the presence of lawyers by a marriage registrar under Muslim Marriage Act, the sources said.
“There was a marriage proposal from both the families after the youth was held. We convinced the court they could be allowed to get married as early marriage is allowed under the Muslim Marriage Act. As the court granted bail to the accused, we arranged marriage on court premises today,” said an assistant public prosecutor.
He said the newly married couple were sent to their village.
Asked how a girl aged below 18 years got married with the court’s intervention, the assistant public prosecutor said: “As the girl is pregnant and it is a serious issue involving the lives of the victim and her baby, we thought of this option. There are similar examples and Muslim Marriage Law allows marriage of underage girls.”
The advocate of the accused was also present and echoed the assistant public prosecutor.
However, several senior advocates said it was unlawful to arrange marriage of a minor girl who is the victim of rape.
“It was wrong to allow marriage of an underage girl… We have a law in the Parliament where marriage of an underage girl is prevented. In a case where a minor was raped, no one has the right to get her married,” said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, an advocate of Calcutta High Court.
The youth who was granted bail is accused under sections 4 and 6 of POCSO, which has a maximum punishment of death penalty.