Telangana High Court Quashes POCSO FIR Against Accused of Marrying Minor, Citing Voidability under Hindu Marriage Act


LI Network

Published on: January 21, 2024 at 11:00 IST

In a recent development, the Telangana High Court has dismissed an FIR filed under section 5 r/w s.6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against an accused accused of marrying a minor.

Justice T Madhavi Devi, presiding over the case, asserted that the marriage could be deemed voidable at the discretion of the minor upon reaching the age of majority, particularly if she is dissatisfied under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The order was issued in response to a petition filed by the accused, seeking the quashing of the FIR under section 482 of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to sections 376(2)(n) IPC, 5 r/w 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012, and section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Justice Madhavi highlighted that the determination of the age of the purported minor wife was unnecessary, as she had already attained majority and possessed the right to declare the marriage void under the Hindu Marriage Act. Contrary to allegations, the girl had testified to her contentment and motherhood of twins.

The court stated: “Even if it is found that she was aged below 18 years at the time of marriage, under the Hindu Marriage Act, it is a marriage at the option of the girl after she attains the age of majority. The said Sindhu is happily married with the petitioner and she begot two children out of the wedlock with the petitioner, and therefore, no useful purpose would be served at this stage by investigating into her age when there are no allegations of any abuse against her either by the husband or her in-laws. Therefore, this Court is inclined to quash the aforesaid Crime against the petitioner.”

The accused argued that the case was initiated based on a complaint from the Additional Child Development Project Office (ACDPO), alleging the petitioner’s marriage to a minor for the second time.

The petitioner asserted that no evidence was provided to prove his second wife’s minority status, and discrepancies in school records led to incorrect conclusions by investigating authorities.

The Court, acknowledging the girl’s autonomy to annul the marriage after reaching majority, found her willingly married to the accused. Consequently, the FIR against the accused was quashed by the High Court.

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