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Gujarat High Court orders Rs30,000 cost, holds parents responsible for ruining ‘childhood’

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Aaquib Chhipa, Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court has imposed a cost of Rs30,000 on the parents of a couple (who were minors when they were forced into a child marriage) who were held responsible for ruining their childhood by ‘dragging them in such a disrespectful controversy’. 

The case reached the high court after the now major husband (he was a minor when he got married) moved the court to quash an FIR filed by his minor wife.

In a case of child marriage, the minor wife had filed an FIR against her husband accusing him of forcefully having physical relationship against her wish when she was taken to her in-laws’ house in 2016.

A single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court quashed the FIR and subsequent proceedings after the concerned parties reached a settlement.

Quashing the FIR the bench said it was doing so to see that the relationship between the families does not deteriorate further and the life of both the petitioner and the prosecutrix is maintained smoothly and effortlessly. 

It also set aside the proceedings given the settlement arrived at between the concerned parties.

But high court imposes a cost on parents 

The bench observed; “The law of this land has always recognized the rights of the parents with their wards/minors and first and foremost consideration of the court is ‘welfare of children’ which overrides the views or opinion of parents.”

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The court while taking note of the incident said that “serious offences under IPC and POCSO cannot be allowed to be misused and the parents of such children who resort to such tactics cannot be let-off easily without fastening any accountability”. 

The court said it has also decided to fasten the liability for sheer wastage of time of state and the court. 

The court ordered a cost of Rs30,000 on the parents of both the prosecutrix (the minor girl) and the petitioner (the husband) as they were responsible for ruining their childhood by dragging them in such a disreputable controversy.

The court said the cost shall be shared by both sets of parents equally. The court ordered the parents of both the children to deposit the cost before the Registry which will transfer it to Gujarat High Court Legal Service Committee (GHCLSC). 

How child marriage was established

The documents presented before the court said that the investigating officer had collected the marriage invitation card of the couple. It was thus established that the parents had solemnized the marriage of the accused and prosecutrix when they were minors on February 7, 2015.

The advocates appearing for the respective parties had submitted that the minor couple belonged to a community where child marriage was still prevalent and they were married off by the parents when they were minors.

The FIR filed by the minor wife at the Sikka Police Station, Jamnagar on August 19 this year said that at the age of 11 she was married to the petitioner who was 17, on February 7, 2015.

She alleged in the FIR that she was forced to have physical relation with her husband against her wish when she was taken to her in-laws’ house in 2016. 

The husband later moved an application to quash the FIR against him.

 

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