A month after the Delhi High Court ruled that a minor girl eloping and marrying her lover is not an offence, the daughter of a Delhi police constable belonging to the Muslim community became its first beneficiary.
Citing the observations of another judge of the High Court among many other rulings, Justice A K Sikri on Monday allowed 16-year-old Ruksana to live with her husband Rahamate Azam. The court also quashed an FIR of “kidnapping a minor” filed against him by the girl’s father Zulfiquar Ahmad.
Justice S.N. Dhigra had last month ruled “if a minor girl runs away from her parent’s house to save herself from the onslaught of her father or relatives and joins her lover or runs away with him, it is no offence either on the part of the girl or the boy”.
Justice Sikri found that Ruksana had gone with Zulfiquar of her own accord. They had solemnized their marriage on May 6, 2005 at Patna and had ever since been living as a husband and wife. They were also blessed with a male child.
Under the Indian Penal Code, consent of a girl below 18 years for marriage is not valid and the spouse can be punished for kidnapping. But “forceful taking away” and “enticement” has to be proved with which the prosecution failed in this case.