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‘Choice To Live on Own Terms’: HC Reunites Etah Interfaith Couple

The court also quashed the FIR lodged at the Kotwali Defat police station in September against the man.

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Law
3 min read
The new ‘love-jihad’ law in Uttar Pradesh has created a lot of buzz, with at least 35 arrests having taken place since it was first passed by the Yogi Adityanath government in the state.
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Pointing out that a woman, on attaining the age of majority, can choose to live her life on her own terms, the Allahabad High Court, on Monday, 28 December, reunited an interfaith couple.

In doing so, the court, according to Live Law, noted, that the woman had "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 hindrance being created by third party."

In the matter, the court explicitly stated:

“As the corpus has attained the age of majority and she has a choice to live her life on her own terms and she has expressed that she wants to live with her husband Salman @ Karan she is free to move as per her own choice without any restriction or hindrance being created by third party.”   

The court also quashed the FIR lodged at the Kotwali Defat police station in September against the man, under Section 366 of the IPC (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel to marriage etc).

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WHAT HAD HAPPENED?

According to Live Law, the Bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal was hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by the man (Salman @ Karan), who submitted before the Court that his wife (Shikha) had been sent to her parents by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), against her wishes.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, according to Live Law, had passed an order placing the woman in CWC’s custody, which had thereby passed her custody on to her parents.

The Court had directed the woman to be produced before them, who then submitted before the Court that her date of birth was 4 October 1999, and that she had attained the age of majority and entered into the wedlock by her own choice.

The Court also reportedly observed that in the certificate issued by the Head Master, Higher Primary Education, Etah, her date of birth was also mentioned as 4 October 1999, thus confirming that her age.

WHAT DID THE COURT SAY?

According to Live Law, the high court stated that the requirement of Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, in this regard, had, therefore, been fulfilled. It further said:

“The act of CJM Etah, and that of the CWC, Etah, reflects lack of appreciation of legal provisions.”   

The Court also pointed out that the woman “has a choice to live life on her own terms and is free to move as per own choice without any restriction.”

OTHER DIRECTIONS

According to Live Law, the Allahabad High Court allowed the petition, quashed the FIR against the woman’s husband, and further directed:

  • The IO to ensure that appropriate protection is granted to the couple till they return to their residence.
  • The SSP Prayagraj to provide necessary police security for the couples’ safe passage.

SC ON SUCH CASES

In a 2018 judgement, the case of Shakti Vahini v UOI and other the Supreme Court, according to Live Law, had said: “When two adults marry out of their violation, they choose their path; they consummate their relationship; they feel that it is their goal and they have a right to do so.”

“Any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that is tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by any assembly, whatsover the nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence.”     

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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