An adult can marry or live with anyone of his or her choice: Allahabad HC - Hindustan Times
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An adult can marry or live with anyone of his or her choice: Allahabad HC

ByJItendra Sarin
Jun 13, 2024 05:01 AM IST

Allahabad High Court upholds right to freedom of choice and marriage, quashes kidnapping FIR.

PRAYAGRAJ: Quashing an FIR alleging kidnapping, the Allahabad high court said that no one could restrain an adult from going anywhere that he/she liked, staying with a person of his/her choice or solemnizing marriage according to his/ her will or wish as this was a right which flowed from Article 21 of the Constitution, providing protection to life and personal liberty.

The court also directed the officers concerned to ensure that her uncle or any other family member did not harm the petitioner in any manner. (Pic for representation)
The court also directed the officers concerned to ensure that her uncle or any other family member did not harm the petitioner in any manner. (Pic for representation)

While making this observation, a division bench comprising justices JJ Munir and Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal criticized a judicial magistrate for sending an adult woman, who was one of the petitioners in the case, to her uncle’s home after the latter lodged an FIR against her husband, who was second petitioner in this case.

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The judicial magistrate had sent the woman to her uncle’s home despite her statement under section 164 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC), wherein she had expressed fear for her life if she was sent to her uncle/parents’ home.

The court further added that the judicial magistrate, before whom the petitioner woman claimed that she feared for her life because her uncle had threatened to kill her, was duty bound to get an FIR registered against the uncle, besides taking adequate measures to secure the safety and life of the first petitioner.

Emphasizing that honour killing in such matters was not an “unknown phenomenon”, the court added that the superintendent of police, Siddharth Nagar and the station house officer, police station Bansi, Siddharth Nagar district were equally answerable for not taking action against the woman’s uncle by registering an appropriate FIR and protecting the woman’s life .

The first petitioner was an adult woman aged about 21 years who had married a man of her choice according to Muslim rites in April 2024.

Aggrieved with her decision to marry the second petitioner, the woman’s uncle lodged an FIR against her husband under section 363 (kidnapping) of IPC. Thereafter, the police not only arrested her her husband but also took the woman into custody and handed her over to her uncle.

When the police produced the woman before the magistrate to get her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC, she categorically said that she had married her husband of her own free will and that her husband had been implicated in the case falsely.

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Subsequently, the petitioners jointly challenged the FIR before the high court.

While making above observations, the court quashed the FIR, while noting that the impugned FIR contained uncontroverted allegations, which did not make out a case against the accused.

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In addition, the court directed the superintendent of police, Siddharthnagar and the station house officer, police station Bansi of Siddharthnagar district to ensure that the woman went wherever she liked and stayed with whomsoever she wanted, without any hindrance from her uncle or any other family member.

In a decision dated June 7, the court also directed the officers concerned to ensure that her uncle or any other family member did not harm her in any manner.

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