|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Girls over 15 free to marry: Court
October 06, 2005 22:58 IST
Last Updated: October 07, 2005 02:16 IST
The marriage of a minor girl above 15 years of age is not illegal if it is her free will and she cannot be sent to Nari Niketan against her will, the Delhi high court has ruled.
"The marriage was neither void nor illegal on account of the spouse being less than 18 years of age and being over 15 years of age," a division bench of Jusice Manmohan Sarin and Justice Manju Goel said.
The order came in connection with three separate cases wherein minor girls above the age of 15 had eloped and married men of their choice and the girls' parents had lodged kidnapping cases against their sons-in-law.
The bench quashed the first information reports and ordered the release of the three husbands, saying the essential ingredient of the offence of kidnapping, i.e. 'taking away or enticing away of the minor', was mising in these cases.
The court also ordered the release of the girls from Nari Niketan and allowed them, one of them pregnant, to accompany their respective husbands.
"The girls having reached the age of discretion had, of their own volition, accompanied the men of their choice," the court said, noting that, "Evidence suggested that the initiative came from them and they got married of their own accord and were desirous of living with their respective husbands."
Quoting from 1965 Apex Court verdict in S Varadrajan Vs State of Madras, the bench said when a girl, who though a minor had attained the age of discretion and was on the verge of attaining the age of majority, accompanied a man with the desire of being his wife, the man cannot be held guilty of kidnapping as 'the law does not cast upon him the duty of taking her back to her father's house or even of telling her not to acompany him'.