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HC directs Madurai officials to hand over rescued girl to

The Madras High Court today directed district officials to hand over a girl rescued two years ago when she was to be married off and lodged in a children's home to her parents after an assurance from them that they would allow her wedding till she attained 18 years.

The girl, a Muslim, was produced before the high court according to the orders of justices S Tamilvanan and V S Ravi.

Her marriage was fixed for March 8, 2013. She was 16 years old then. However, following a tip off, the officials of District Social Welfare Department intervened and rescued the girl on March 2.

M Mohammed Abbas, an advocate, sought to hand over the girl to her parents, as she was not even produced before a judicial magistrate before being lodged in the children's home.

He submitted that the officials were preventing the marriage of Muslim girls in the age group of 15-18. The officials could not prevent marriage of Muslim girls according to Muslim Personal Law.

According to Muslim Personal Law, a Muslim girl, if she attains puberty or completes the age of 15 years, is eligible to get married, he contended.

The officials said education of the girl should not be obstructed in any way. The age limit for a girl to get married, according to the law in the country is 18 years. Child Marriage Prohibition Act is applicable for all the communities, the officials contended.

After the parents assured the court that they would marry off the girl only when she attains 18, the judges ordered to sent her with them and posted the case for hearing to March 12.