The Allahabad High Court has observed that a 21-year-old Hindu woman, who is married to a Muslim man, “has a choice to live her life on her own terms”. She has now reunited with her husband.
In an order passed on December 18, a bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal observed that since the woman, Shikha, has attained the age of majority and has expressed that she wants to live with her husband, Salman alias Karan, “she is free to move as per her own choice without any restriction or hinderance being created by third party”.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Shikha, who was handed over by the Etah CJM to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on December 7. The committee had then handed over her custody to her parents the next day. According to the court, this was done “without any application of mind and against her wish”.
“The act of CJM, Etah, and that of the CWC, Etah, reflects lack of appreciation of legal provisions,” said the court.
It observed that the woman was an adult as her date of birth was October 4, 1999 and the CJM court did not appreciate the fact that when a school certificate had been produced, then any other evidence becomes “secondary in nature and should not be relied on”.
The woman’s husband had been booked for kidnapping on September 27. The court has also quashed the FIR against him.
It passed the order after interacting with the woman, who submitted that “she is a major, her date of birth is 04.10.1999, she has attained the age of majority and has entered into a wedlock”.
The court has directed police to provide security to the couple till they reach their residence.