The Allahabad High Court has recently allowed a habeas corpus petition filed by a Muslim man seeking the production of his wife, a Hindu, who had been taken away and handed over to her parents. The Court allowed the petition on the ground of the woman being an adult and said, “the woman has the right to live her life on her own terms.” The Court also quashed an FIR lodged against the couple in Kotwali Dehat Police Station of District Etah.
The division bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agrawal ordered the investigating officer to ensure appropriate protection is granted to the woman and her husband till they return to their residence. The bench also directed the SSP Prayagraj to provide necessary security for safe passage of the couple.
Justices Naqvi and Agrawal were hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by one Shikha and her husband Salman, also known as Karan, in which he alleged that Shikha was separated from him against his will. He said they had married on their own free will but the Child Welfare Committee of Etah had handed Shikha over to her parents against her will.
The Court noted, “Vipin Kumar, I.O., along with the Corpus is present, pursuant to the previous order. He produced case diary in which certificate issued by Head Master, Higher Primary Education, Etah is enclosed in which it is clearly mentioned that corpus had taken admission in said school on July 14, 2005 in Class I vide serial no is 616 in the scholar register wherein her date of birth is mentioned as October 4, 1999. Copy of scholar register is enclosed along with the case diary. Therefore, the requirement of Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in regard to presumption and determination of age are fulfilled.”
“The Chief Judicial Magistrate, in not appreciating the provisions of Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice Act, held that when a certificate from school is available then any other evidence becomes secondary in nature and should not be relied especially when the birth certificate produced by respondent on March 25, 2019 issued by the competent authority and the date of registration of birth is mentioned as March 17, 2019. This certificate will not take precedence over the school entry register and the certificate issued on the basis of the scholar register.”
The judges said, “We interacted with the Corpus who submits that she is a major, her date of birth is October 4, 1999, she has attained the age of majority and has entered into a wedlock. He submits that she wants to live with her husband namely Salman @ Karan, who is also present in the Court.”
As the Corpus has attained the age of majority and she has a choice to live her life on her own terms and she has expressed that she wants to live with her husband Salman @ Karan, she is free to move as per her own choice without any restriction or hindrance being created by third party.