Allahabad High Court: No One Can Restrain Adults From Marrying As Per Their Will

Published on: June 13, 2024 08:51 IST

The Allahabad High Court has quashed a case of kidnapping against a man, filed on the complaint of his wife’s uncle after the couple eloped. The court also criticized the judicial magistrate’s decision to send the adult petitioner back to her parental home despite her expressed fears for her safety.

The woman, aged 21, had married the man according to Muslim rites in April 2024, for which the Telangana State Waqf Board issued a marriage certificate. However, her uncle lodged an FIR against her husband under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC. Following this, the police arrested her husband and took the woman into custody, subsequently handing her over to her uncle.

During her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, the woman clearly stated that she had married of her own volition and that her husband was falsely implicated. Despite this, the judicial magistrate sent her back to her parental home, ignoring her fears.

A bench comprising Justices JJ Munir and Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal ruled that no one can restrain an adult from choosing their residence or partner, emphasizing that this right is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, which ensures the protection of life and personal liberty.

The court noted that the magistrate was duty-bound to ensure the woman’s safety, including potentially registering an FIR against the uncle, who had threatened her life. The court also held the Superintendent of Police and the Station House Officer of Siddharth Nagar district accountable for failing to take appropriate action against the uncle and for not safeguarding the woman’s life.

In its decision, dated June 7, 2024, the court quashed the FIR against the husband and directed the authorities to ensure the woman’s safety, prohibiting her uncle or any other family member from harming her in any manner.

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