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Punjab and Haryana HC orders inquiry into marriage of 19-year-old girl with 67-year-old man

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Superintendent of Police, Palwal to investigate the truth behind the marriage of a 19-year-old girl with a 67 year old man, calling it a ‘shocking’ case.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri passed the order on August 2, while hearing a protection plea filed by a couple, seeking direction to the state to protect their life and liberty, as the private respondents were harassing them and interfering in their peaceful married life.

The Court held that it is not clear from the pleadings or from the arguments raised by the Counsel for the petitioners as to whether the man has solemnised his first marriage or multiple marriages or under what circumstances a girl of 19 years of age had got married with an old man of 67 years of age.

Prima facie, the Court is of the view that there is some suspicion with regard to the marriage and the possibility of forced marriage can also not be ruled out at this stage, noted the Bench and directed the Superintendent of Police, Palwal to depute a team of police officials, including lady police officials to reach out to the girl, and ensure her protection.

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“The team constituted by the Superintendent of Police, Palwal shall enquire into the entire matter not only with the present marriage, but also with regard to the background of petitioner No.2 (man) and produce petitioner No.1 (girl) before the Ilaqa Magistrate for recording her statement. The Ilaqa Magistrate shall record the statement of petitioner No.1 after ascertaining her voluntariness. Thereafter, the Superintendent of Police, Palwal shall file his affidavit himself in this Court,” the Bench ordered.

The Court ordered that the entire exercise be carried out within a period of one week, while adjoining the matter till August 10.

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