The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently observed 'Swayamvar' meaning marrying by one's own choice is not a modern phenomenon and that it can be traced to ancient history of India. The court made obervations while quashing FIR against a man who was accused of kidnapping a girl and solemnising marriage.
Bench of Justice Jagmohan Bansal, while hearing the case, noted that in Indian culture marriage is not a compromise or contract but a sacred bond between two families. Justice Bansal also noted that it is most important and pious institution of the Indian society, reported Indian Express.
The HC said that marriage by choice is not new phenomenon and that its roots could be traced to ancient history including in holy texts Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The high court further observed that the Indian Constitution in terms of Article 21 reinforces the human right as a person's fundamental right. The court also noted that object of law is not to disturb settled life of a person without their fault.
Justice Bansal further noted that a person can be punished for committing an offence but not because his act was not liked by someone.
Petitioner was booked in 2019
According to the report, the petitioner was booked in January 2019 by Sri Muktsar Sahib police under Sections 363 and 366 (A) of the Indian Penal Code after the girl's father lodged a complaint against the man.
The father had alleged that on morning of January 18, they spotted their daughter was not in the room and searched for her in their neighbourhood but she was untraceable.
Reportedly, the family later got the whiff that a boy from their neighbourhood had eloped with their daughter on pretext of marrying her; they also understood that she had taken away her Aadhaar card and Rs 60,000 with her.
The couple had solemnised their marriage in July 2019 at a gurdwara in Sri Muktsar Sahib.
Man moved HC seeking ptotection of their life
The man moved to HC seeking protection of the life of couple and the matter was disposed of with SSP of Sri Muktsar Sahib being directed by the court to take note of representation of the petitioner and act according to the law.
The advocate appearing for the man had submitted to the court that the couple eloped and got married; he said they are blessed with two children as well.
The counsel for state then submitted that father of the girl told the police that he had no further objection if proceedings against the man were quashed. Meanwhile, the counsel for the girl also submitted before the court that she has no objection if the FIR is quashed.
Justice Bansal says petitioner has right to live their life as per their choice
After hearing the arguments, Justice Bansal observed that in the case, the couple were majors when they eloped and got married despite disapproval from their families. He further said they are cohabiting and no person including courts or law enforcing agencies hold rights to disturb their life without their fault. He said state can also not interfere in their lives.
He noted that with a pending criminal case, no one could lead a happy life and said continuance would have disturbed the couple's lives and those of their children. He also noted that there was a lack of mechanism through which dependent family of a convcited person can be provided basic amenities.
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