Shariat Court dismisses petition against Sindh child marriage act – 07 Mar 2023
Setting a minimum age for marriage is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, rules full bench
The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has dismissed a petition challenging the vires of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, which set the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in the province.
A full bench comprising Chief Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwar and Justice Khadim Hussain Shaikh on Monday heard the petition filed by a citizen.
The petitioner had claimed that the Act was un-Islamic and violated the injunctions of Islam.
The FSC, after hearing arguments from both sides, held that the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, and therefore does not violate any constitutional or Islamic provisions. The court further stated that the section 2(a) of the Act is in line with the Islamic teachings of protecting the rights of children and ensuring their well-being.
The Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 was enacted to prevent child marriages by fixing minimum age limit and promote the protection of children’s rights in the province.
It sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 years for males and females.
The FSC held that “setting a minimum age for marriage i.e an act which is “mobah” (permissible) and not absolutely “fard” (mandatory) like marriage is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, because such fixation of minimum age limit provides reasonable time period to girls to complete basic education at least, which normally helps in developing mental maturity (Rushd / رشد) in a person”.
The fixing of an age limit to enter into marriage by the state or a government, as is done in the impugned law, is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, read the judgement.
“The act of setting a minimum age limit for marriage and setting age for an adult eligible to solemnise marriage vide impugned Section 2(a) of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah,” it added.