Adult's Right To Solemnise Marriage Or Live With Person Of Choice Protected Under Article 21: Allahabad High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay

10 Jun 2024 7:13 AM GMT

  • Adults Right To Solemnise Marriage Or Live With Person Of Choice Protected Under Article 21: Allahabad High Court

    In a significant remark, the Allahabad High Court has recently said that no one can restrain an adult from going anywhere that he/she likes, staying with a person of his/her choice, or solemnizing marriage according to his/her will or wish as “this is a right which flows from Article 21 of the Constitution” Observing thus, a bench comprising Justice J.J. Munir and Justice Arun...

    In a significant remark, the Allahabad High Court has recently said that no one can restrain an adult from going anywhere that he/she likes, staying with a person of his/her choice, or solemnizing marriage according to his/her will or wish as “this is a right which flows from Article 21 of the Constitution

    Observing thus, a bench comprising Justice J.J. Munir and Justice Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal also criticised a Judicial Magistrate for sending an adult woman (petitioner no. 1) to her uncle's home after the uncle (respondent no. 3) lodged an FIR against her husband (petitioner no. 2).

    Essentially, the Magistrate had sent the woman to her uncle's home despite her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, wherein she had expressed fear for her life if sent to her uncle/parent's home.

    In its June 7 order, the Court said that the Judicial Magistrate, before whom petitioner no. 1 claimed that she feared for her life because her uncle (respondent no. 3) had threatened to do her death, was “duty bound” to get an FIR registered against the uncle, besides “taking adequate measures” to secure the safety and life of the first petitioner.

    Stressing that "honour killing in such matters is not an unknown phenomenon", the Court added that the Superintendent of Police, Siddharth Nagar, and the Station House Officer, Police Station-Bansi, District-Siddharth Nagar, were “equally answerable” for not taking action against the woman's uncle by registering an appropriate FIR and safeguarding the woman's life and security.

    The facts in brief

    The first petitioner was an adult woman aged about 21 years who married an adult man of her choice as per her own free will and wish in April 2024 according to Muslim rites, regarding which the Telangana State Waqf Board issued a marriage certificate.

    Aggrieved with her decision to marry petitioner no. 2, the woman's uncle lodged an FIR against her husband under section 363 IPC. Thereafter, the Police not only arrested her husband but also took the woman into custody and handed her over to her uncle.

    In fact, when the police produced the woman before the Magistrate to get her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC, she categorically said that she had married petitioner No. 2 of her own choice and that her husband had been implicated in the case falsely.

    She also expressed an apprehension that she would be done to death as her uncle had been threatening her; despite this, the concerned magistrate directed her to send her to her uncle's home.

    Challenging the FIR, the petitioners moved the HC.

    At the outset, the Court noted that both petitioners are major and have a right to live together or solemnise marriage. Hence, the woman's uncle had no right to lodge the impugned FIR, and therefore, all proceedings taken pursuant thereto were “manifestly illegal.”

    The Court further found faults with the magistrate's order of sending the woman back to her uncle's home, as the Court stressed that an adult could not be sent into the custody of another and forced to stay with him/her.

    Against this backdrop, noting that the impugned FRI contained uncontroverted allegations, which did not make out a case against the accused, the Court quashed the FIR.

    In addition, the Court issued a mandamus to the S.P. Siddharthnagar and the Station House Officer, Police Station-Bansi, District-Siddharthnagar, to ensure that the woman goes wherever she likes and stays with whomsoever she wants, without any hindrance from her uncle or any other family member.

    The Court also directed the concerned officers to ensure that her uncle or any other family member does not harm her in any manner.

    Case title - Naziya Ansari And Another vs. State Of Up And 2 Others 2024 LiveLaw (AB) 383 [CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. - 9396 of 2024]

    Case citation: 2024 LiveLaw (AB) 383

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