Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Underage Marriage

Several times ago public of Indonesia was created a sensation by controversial marriage. Syech Puji Widianto, a calligraphy businessman from Semarang, have married Lutfiana Ulfa (13 years old)as 2nd wife.

The underage marriage case boomed after a NGO surfaced it and press blew up it. Many people commented. From religious figure, activist NGO, law expert, public figure, gynecologist, until high school students. Even Komisi Nasional Perlindungan Anak (National Commission for Protection of Children) interfered with this case.

Syech Puji has accused of breaking article of underage pornography (pasal pencabulan anak di bawah umur), and breaking Children Protection Law (Undang-undang Perlindungan Anak) too. But he never feel guilty for married Ulfa, because, although still 13, Ulfa has akil baligh, has grown into an adult. And he do not want to divorce Ulfa.

Is Syech Puji guilty? Is the marriage valid?

According to Islamic Law, a marriage is valid if there are bride, bride-groom, wali nikah, 2 male witnesses and ijab kabul. In Islam, requirement of girl to marry ia akil baligh, and Ulfa has akil baligh and she said no coercion in her marriage. So that according to Islamic Law, the marriage is valid, and of course Syech Puji is not guilty. But in Indonesia requirement of akil baligh is not enough. Indonesian Law (State Law) regulates border of minimum age for bride and bride-groom. Based on Undang-undang Perkawinan (Marriage Law) and Kompilasi Hukum Islam (Compilation of Islamic Law), requirement for a bride is at least 16 years old and for bride-groom is at least 19 years old. If border of minimum age is broken so that the marriage is voidable.

The problem is the marriage performed siri (nikah siri). Nikah Siri is performed according to Islamic Law without State Law, so that no registered, no proof, so that the marriage can not voidable. To force Syech Puji to divorce Ulfa is not a wise decision. Ulfa is too young to be a widow. And I think divorce can influence Ulfa’s mental growth. Moreover, in a press conference Ulfa ever said she loved Syech Puji and she did not want separated from him.

What will happen to Ulfa and what will happen with this case? Until now this case is still processed.

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