The Allahabad High Court recently ruled that even though she had fled her own home and married the man out of her own free will, a minor girl could not be permitted to live in a marital relationship with a man whom she considers to be her husband.
Thus, though considering her High School Diploma, the Bench of Justice J. J. Munir ruled that she was a minor because her birth date was 4th November 2004.
She cannot be able to accompany the defendant, Pintoo, whom she appears to have married, if the prosecutor is a minor.
Matter before court,
A Hapur Judicial Magistrate had ordered the prosecutor/minor girl to be able to go with her husband, the accused Pinto. Before the High Court, this decision was contested, arguing that the Judge erred in allowing the lawyer to join her husband, a suspect in the crime.
It was also argued that she, not being a major, should not be allowed to remain with her husband and could not be permitted to accompany him as doing so would be permitting statutory rape and an offense under Section 5/6 of the Sexual Crimes Prevention Act, 2012.
It was also argued that, under Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, she should not be allowed to live in a contractual partnership where the marriage would be invalid.
At the beginning, the Court noted that Section 94(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Security of Children) Act 2015 made it clear that the other avoids the school’s date of birth or the matriculation or similar certificate of the reviewing board concerned. It is not possible to inquire at the age of a survivor.
In this context, while acknowledging that the Minor Girl’s High School Diploma “clearly indicates that she is a minor” the Court said. There is no complaint that proof of her being a major, which is her status, cannot be acknowledged. She should not be sent for medical testing to ascertain her age, if her date of birth is available, based on her High School Diploma.
Furthermore, to decide if the complainant was enticed away from the rightful care of her guardian, or if she left her own, the Court ascertained the position of the prosecutor and found that she left her own home and married him.
Under Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, marriage would not be invalid, but it would be void under Section 3 of that Act. “It would, thus, be open to the petitioner to accept the marriage or declare it to be void once she acquires the age of majority.
It would be open to her, once she acquires the age of majority, and go wherever she likes and stays with whomever she wants.” A Secure Home/Shelter Home could be the State asked to put her in an acceptable State institution rather than a Nari Niketan.
Hapur and the Superintendent of Police directed the District Magistrate to ensure that the prosecutor was promptly placed in an appropriate secure home/shelter home or other state hospital where she would be safe and cared for.
The Lady Judicial Officer, who was assigned to his judgeship, was ordered to meet the lawyer once a month to inquire about her health. Minor girls have been allowed to live in the State facility/Safe Home/Shelter Home until November 04, 2022, and will then go anywhere she wants to stay with whoever she wishes, including Pintoo.