Friday July 01, 2022

Father withdraws petition for annulment of Dua Zahra’s marriage from SC

June 24, 2022

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the father of Dua Zahra, a girl who went missing from Karachi in April and later found to have married a man in Punjab, against the Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict by declaring it to be withdrawn.

The SHC had on June 8 disposed of a petition of Dua’s family following the production of the girl in court and her statement that she had married of her own free will. The high court declared that Dua was at liberty to decide with whom she wanted to live.

After the SHC verdict, Dua’s father Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi filed an appeal with the SC stating that the SHC had erred in its June 8 order by failing to consider the Code of Criminal Procedure, Pakistan Penal Code and Guardian Wards Act, and set the ‘minor’ girl at liberty to decide as to whom she intended to live with, instead of committing her to the lawful guardianship of her parents.

During Thursday’s hearing, a three-member SC bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observed that the apex court was not the appropriate forum to bring a civil dispute and the petitioner should have approached the relevant forum for redress of his grievance with regard to his daughter’s marriage and determination of her age through the constitution of a medical board.

The SC observed that the girl had recorded her statement before a magistrate and the high court with regard to her marriage. The bench observed that the petitioner should have first approached a civil court for redress of his grievance.

The apex court observed that the girl had recorded a statement that she had married of her own free will and she had also rights under the law. After these observations were made by the SC, the counsel for the petitioner withdrew the petition and the apex court disposed of the plea declaring it to be withdrawn.

Later, talking to journalists, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that his client would approach the appropriate forum for determination of the girl’s age and the legality of her marriage under the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act.

Earlier, the SHC had turned down the request of Dua’s parents for the cancellation of her marriage observing that that court could not determine factual disputes as it may affect and prejudice the interest of any of the parties.

The high court had observed that the aggrieved parties, if any, were always at liberty to contest the same before a competent court. The high court observed that apparently, the parents’ petition had served its purpose as it was only to the extent of the whereabouts of the girl who had already been produced before the court and she categorically stated on oath that she was neither abducted nor kidnapped but had entered into a contract of marriage with a man,

Zaheer Ahmed.