Hearing the protection plea of a runaway couple- a minor girl and 28-year-old man, who claim to have gotten married, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the UT Police SSP to take over the custody of the girl and ensure that she resides at Aashiana in Chandigarh, until further orders.
The HC also directed the police official to take appropriate action to protect the minor girl’s life and liberty from dangers from her relatives and family members.
The bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi heard the protection plea of the couple.
The petitioners, claiming to be aged about 17 years and 6 months and 28 years, through counsel advocate Parampreet Singh Bajwa, contended that on June 16, they got married as per Hindu rites and ceremonies at their friend’s residence, against the wishes of the respondents (family members) and they apprehend threat to their life and liberty.
The state counsel, meanwhile, submitted that the girl is less than 18 years of age, falling within the definition of child under Section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. The Section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, provides punishment for a person who performs child marriage. He further said that the petitioner No. 2 (man) is not entitled to custody of petitioner no 1 (girl), and the life and liberty of the girl has to be protected by sending her to child care institution under the care of Child Welfare Committee.
The bench, while adjourning the matter for July 23, held, “In the meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police, UT Chandigarh is directed to take over custody of petitioner no 1 from petitioner No. 2 and to ensure that till further orders to the contrary petitioner No. 1 is kept at Aashiana, Sector 15, Chandigarh and also to take appropriate action for protection of her life and liberty from danger at the instance of respondents No. 4 to 6. All the expenses for the stay of petitioner No 1 in Aashiana, Sector 15, Chandigarh, shall be borne by the UT Chandigarh.”
The HC also directed SSP Malerkotla to take appropriate action for protection of the life and liberty of the man at the place of his present residence as may be warranted by the threat perception, facts and circumstances of the case.
The bench meanwhile also ordered, however, nothing in this order shall prevent police officials from registering criminal case against petitioner No.2 (Man) and taking appropriate action against him in accordance with law as may be warranted by the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Court further directed that a copy of the order be supplied to the state counsel for Punjab and Additional Public Prosecutor for UT Chandigarh, besides sending it to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Malerkotla and Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, for requisite compliance.