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The apex court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary to appear before it next Monday in connection with a minor Muslim girl’s petition challenging Allahabad High Court order declaring her marriage as invalid.

Observing that state government has not filed response despite being given an opportunity, the court ordered Home Secretary to personally appear before it.

A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said: “We are compelled to order the appearance of the state Home Secretary before us on Monday.”

The court was acting on a plea of 16-year-old Muslim girl, who has been directed to reside in a shelter home for women in Uttar Pradesh, after her marriage was annulled by the Allahabad High Court.

Earlier, her plea was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court against the trial court’s order. The Court had sent her to the shelter home after observing that she was a minor and didn’t want to join her parents and her case should be tried in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.

The girl had referred to an Islamic Law in her plea and said as per it once a female reaches the age of menstruation, that is 15 years, she is free to take decisions in her life and is qualified to tie the knot of her own choices.

—India Legal Bureau

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