A Delhi court has acquitted a man charged with kidnapping his 16-year-old girlfriend, stating the girl had attained the age of “discretion” and eloped with him.
“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,” said additional sessions judge Pratibha Rani.
Santosh, a native of Bihar, who was accused of kidnapping the daughter of his landlord, had married the girl in a temple.
“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.
The girl, in her statement, said she had willingly accompanied Santosh to his native place in Bihar’s Begusarai, from where she was recovered by the police.
“The Child Marriage Restraint Act and Hindu Marriage Act are social legislations aimed at protection of vulnerable sex and to be interpreted and worked accordingly,” it added.
The court also took into account the girl, who stayed with Santosh for about 15 days, had a consensual physical relationship.