The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the Bar Council of the Punjab and Haryana to take disciplinary action against a woman lawyer who allowed a minor girl to spend a night with latter’s live-in partner. The lawyer, in undertaking before the court, had said that she would keep the 17-year-old girl at her own house during the night.
While the teenager has returned home now, her live-in-partner, whom she claims to have had “married” the same night, has landed in jail following a complaint from the girl’s family.
The HC order came on a petition seeking protection filed by the minor and her live-in partner. The minor had runaway from Haryana’s Fatehabad district with a 25-year-old earlier this month. On November 6, when the case came for hearing for first time, the court noted that the girl is minor and cannot be allowed to stay with her live-in-partner “even for a night”. As per a court order: “Being a minor, she did not have the capacity in the eye of law to take such a decision”. When the court said she will be sent to Nari Niketan, the woman lawyer representing the girl and the man told the court she would take personnel responsibility for the minor and keep her at her own home.
However, the minor on the next date of hearing conceded before the court that she did not spend the night at the lawyer’s house. A lawyer associated with the case said that the minor told the court that she got married to the 25-year-old man after the court hearing on November 6. Observing that the counsel, who had undertaken to keep the minor at her own home, “was not only a party to, but was also an active instigator of the fraud committed upon the court”, Justice Sanjay Kumar in an order said the advocate was expected to discharge her primary duty as an officer of the court instead of identifying with the cause of her clients.
“In the light of the reprehensible conduct of the counsel, this court deems it proper to refer her case to the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana for appropriate disciplinary action,” reads the order passed by the court.
While the girl, who was later sent to the Nari Niketan, on first two dates of hearing refused to talk to her parents and insisted upon going with her partner, the orders of the court reveal that following an interaction between the minor and her parents in chambers, she has now returned home. The boy was arrested as a criminal case was registered by the family, the court has been told.
“The parents of the second petitioner (minor) undertook before this court that they would not force any decision upon her against her will and would abide by her choice and decision as and when she attains the age of majority. They also undertook to care of the girl without restricting her freedom and without subjecting her to any ill treatment owing to the fact that she left her parental home without their consent,” reads the order passed by Justice Kumar on November 14.