Girl under 21 must get parents' consent for marriage: HC

Observing that a girl below the age of 21 years cannot judge the character of a person she marries, the Division Bench comprising Justice Bhaktavatsala and Justice Govindaraju directed police to lodge a suo motu kidnapping case against the petitioner, Avinash of Sudhama Nagar.

The court further observed that a girl below 21 years of age must have the consent of the parents for her marriage. "Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage," the Bench said.

Terming as void Avinash's marriage with the girl without her parents' consent, the court levied a cost of Rs 10,000 on him. "The court cannot shut its eyes even when police fail to initiate action," the Bench said. On the petitioner's contention of illegal detention, the court said, "Parents keeping the child with them does not amount to illegal detention."

The girl's parents had lodged a complaint of kidnapping on February 7, 2011, with the Wilson Garden Police after their minor daughter, a second PU student, went missing on February 2 while on her way to college. Avinash had taken her to Krishnagiri where he married her on March 3, 2011, after she turned 18 on March 1.

On returning to Bangalore on March 28, he appeared before the police, who brokered peace between the two families by ensuring that the boy got to meet the girl twice a day and appeared before the police daily. However, when the girl's parents refused to abide by the deal and denied him permission to meet his wife, he filed a habeas corpus plea.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the Bench lashed out at the petitioner saying, "This is (the marriage) nothing but a case of kidnapping. If the marriage fails, the girl will return to her parents who are the actual sufferers."

The Bench said that parents protecting their child was not illegal detention. "The Hindu Marriage Act is not a contract. It needs permission from parents. (Avinash's case) is nothing but misuse of the girl and her age," the court said.

Stating that it would take a decision in the interest of the people, the court observed orally, "If it was love, you should wait. Why should you elope? He (boy) will not carry the sin. The girls are the sufferers."

Taking the police to task, the court said, "Police don't behave like human beings. You cannot decide on such matters. Who are you to decide? You are just adding fuel to fire."

When counsel for the respondents K N Puttegowda submitted that it was the third love affair for the boy, the Bench asked Avinash: “Why did you go to Tamil Nadu? To see tsunami? This kind of people should be hanged.”

The court dismissed the matter and directed the Wilson Garden Police to take Avinash into custody immediately.

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