Uttar Pradesh: Allahabad HC reunites interfaith couple in Etah

The Allahabad high court reunited an interfaith couple and quashed a first information report (FIR) lodged over the alleged abduction of the woman for marriage.

The court passed its order after finding out that the woman had attained the age of majority and had married the man of her own free will.

Allowing a habeas corpus writ petition filed by Shikha and Salman alias Karan of Etah district, a division bench comprising Justice Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal on December 18 quashed the FIR dated September 27, 2020. FIR in question was registered under sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage etc) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Kotwali Dehat police station of Etah district.

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The court directed the investigation officer of the case, who was present in the court, to ensure appropriate protection to Shikha and her husband Salman alias Karan till they returned to their residence.

The high court observed, “As the corpus has attained the age of majority and she has a choice to live her life on her own terms. 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.”

Earlier, when Shikha was produced before the court, she submitted that she had attained the age of majority and her date of birth was October 4, 1999.

She also said she married and wanted to live with her husband namely Salman alias Karan, who was also present in court, of her own free will.

In the judgment, the court said that at one stage, the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Etah district, by an order dated December 7, 2020, had handed over Shikha’s custody of Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Etah, which on December 8, 2020 had given custody to her parents without any application of mind and against her wish.

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

Pronouncing the judgment, the court directed the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Prayagraj to provide necessary police security to the couple.

In his petition, Salman alias Karan had submitted before the court that his wife (Shikha) had been handed over to her parents by the Child Welfare Committee against her wishes.

The writ of habeas corpus is filed to challenge the illegal detention of a person. If the court finds that the detention is illegal, he or she is directed to be released.

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