The Madras High Court, on Thursday, warned against the casual arrest of parents and relatives of boys in elopement cases involving underage couples, opining that this would amount to a "social wrong" at the hands of the Police.
The Bench comprising Justice C.T. Selvam and Justice N. Sathish Kumar was dealing with a case concerning the eloping of a 17-year-old girl with a 19-year-old boy. It noted that after a case was registered by the girl's parents, the boy's mother was arrested, and was lodged at Central Prison for Women, Salem.
Taking stern view of the matter, the Court directed that the boy's mother be released and cautioned against such arrests, observing, "As this Court notes that all too frequently parents and relatives of boys are without, a second thought, arrayed as accused in cases registered on boys and girls going missing and most commonly owing to love affairs and they immediately are taken into custody. In many a case, this would amount to a social wrong at the hands of the Police Agency, who very raison-de-etre is serving a social cause."
It then directed a copy of the order to be forwarded to the Director General of Police, to sensitize the force "against wrongful action" in such matters.
The Court, however, clarified that this must not be considered as an inviolable rule, and emphasized on the need of carefully examining all circumstances before taking such step, observing, "This Court is not to be understood as informing that in no cases, shall relatives of accused be proceeded against. This Court only wishes to impress upon the need for care and caution before doing so."
The matter has now been listed on 28 March.