Gujarat High Court judge invokes Manusmriti to rape survivor’s father; says girls would deliver at least one child at the age of 17 in the past

A Gujarat High Court judge has triggered controversy with his observations during the hearing of a plea of a rape survivor’s father. Single-judge Justice Samir Dave invoked Manusmriti as he told the rape survivor’s father that girls in the past would get married between the age of 14 and 16 and deliver their first child by the time they were 17.

Justice Dave’s extraordinary observations came after the rape survivor’s father request for abortion of her seven-month-old daughter citing an adverse impact on her mental health.

Justice Dave, according to the Bar and Bench website, said, “Because we are living in 21st century… Go and ask your mother or great grand mother. They will tell you that in the past, 14 to 16 years was the normal age for girls to get married. By the time they (girls) attain 17 years, they would deliver at least one child.”

Lawyer Sikander Saiyed, who was representing the girl’s father told the judge that the rape survivor in question was just 16 years and 11 months old.

The judge added, “See the point is girls get matured even before boys do. Four to five months here or there wouldn’t make much difference. It is there in Manusmriti, I know you won’t read that but still read it for this once.”

The case will now come up for a hearing on 15 June.