Minor boy booked under Dowry Act

The minor boy Mohammad Asfaque Alam of Purnia, some 300 km from here, was married to 13-year-old girl Nikhat Parween in June last year, but within four months of his wedding, his in-laws slapped him with dowry charges. Following a police complaint, Asfaque was booked under Section 498 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sent to remand home.

“His in-laws have implicated Asfaque by charging him with demanding a dowry of Rs 25,000,” said his distraught father Mohammad Abdul Zabbar of Bathnaha Tola under Damdaha police station in Purnia district. “Had I known that the bride’s parents will play such a mischief, I would have never got my son married,” said Zabbar, who is now running from pillar to post to get justice for his son.

But when asked why he got a minor boy married, he said: “Under the Muslim Personal Law, marriage of minors is permissible if both parties are ready for the wedding. My son’s marriage was also valid as it was solemnised after both the parties agreed.”

Dhamdaha cops, who investigated the case, admit that the boy has been booked under the Dowry Act. “Asfaque has been made accused under Section 498 (A) of the IPC for demanding a dowry of Rs 25,000,” said a local police officer.

However, legal luminaries are shocked to know how Section 498 (A) of the IPC, which was earlier used against adults, have been extended to children as well. Meanwhile, though the girl Nikhat Parween’s family members could not be contacted, locals said the marriage was solemnised simply to implicate the boy so as to settle an old score.

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