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No one can restrain adults from marrying as per their will: Allahabad HC

When the police produced the woman before the Magistrate to get her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC, she categorically said that she had married the man of her own choice and that her husband had been implicated in the case falsely.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 20:49 IST

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Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has quashed a kidnapping case against a man registered on the complaint of his wife's uncle after the couple eloped and said the judicial magistrate was wrong in sending the adult petitioner back to her parental home even when she had expressed fear for her life there.

"No one can restrain an adult from going anywhere that he or she likes, staying with a person of his/her choice, or solemnising marriage according to his/ her will or wish as this is a right which flows from Article 21 of the Constitution, which provides protection of life and personal liberty," the court observed.

The woman aged about 21 years had married the man according to Muslim rites in April 2024, regarding which the Telangana state waqf board issued a marriage certificate.

The woman's uncle lodged an FIR against her husband under section 363 (kidnapping) of IPC. Thereafter, the police not only arrested her husband but also took the woman into custody and handed her over to her uncle.

When the police produced the woman before the Magistrate to get her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC, she categorically said that she had married the man of her own choice and that her husband had been implicated in the case falsely.

Subsequently, the couple jointly challenged the FIR before the high court.

A bench comprising justices JJ Munir and Justice Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal said the judicial magistrate had sent the woman to her uncle's home despite her statement under section 164 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC), wherein she had expressed fear for her life if sent to her uncle/parent's home.

The court said that the judicial magistrate, before whom the first petitioner lady claimed that she feared for her life because her uncle had threatened to do her death, was duty bound to get an FIR registered against the uncle, besides taking adequate measures to secure the safety and life of the first petitioner.

Emphasising that the honour killing in such matters is not an unknown phenomenon", the court added that the Superintendent of Police, Siddharth Nagar and the Station House Officer, police station-Bansi, Siddharth Nagar district were equally answerable for not taking action against the woman's uncle by registering an appropriate FIR and safeguarding the woman's life and security.

While making the above observations, the court quashed the FIR against the husband.

In the decision dated June 7, the court also directed the officers concerned to ensure that her uncle or any other family member does not harm her in any manner.

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Published 12 June 2024, 20:49 IST

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