A man charged with kidnapping his 16-year-old girlfriend has been acquitted by a Delhi Court which found that the girl had attained the age of "discretion" and eloped with him on her own wish.
"Merely because the prosecutrix had not completed the age of 18 years and technically was a minor, it cannot be said that she was taken or detained by the accused against her wish," Additional Session judge Pratibha Rani said acquitting the man.
"A minor girl who had already attained the age of discretion, if accompanies a person of her choice to marry or live with him, essential ingredient of the offence of kidnapping under Indian Penal Code are not satisfied," the court said.
Santosh, a native of Bihar, who was accused of kidnapping the daughter of his landlord, had married the girl in a temple in New Delhi.
Taking note of the fact of their marriage, the court said, "The prosecutrix, though minor, had attained the age of discretion so much so in a statement before magistrate she claimed to have married the accused in a temple on the day when she left the house".
The girl in her statement before the court had said that according to the plan she met Santosh at a mobile shop and before leaving Delhi they went to a temple at Paschim Vihar and got married.