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[Live-In] "Court Is Guardian Of Tender Aged Girls Who File Protection Plea Without Knowing The Consequences": HC Directs Magistrate To Check If Girl Is Capable Of Taking Decision

Sparsh Upadhyay
31 July 2021 1:12 PM GMT
[Live-In] Court Is Guardian Of Tender Aged Girls Who File Protection Plea Without Knowing The Consequences: HC Directs Magistrate To Check If Girl Is Capable Of Taking Decision
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The Punjab & Haryana High Court has observed that Court is also the guardian of the minor girls or the girls of tender age, who may be enticed away by a male person due to infatuation of tender age and without knowing the consequences of filing a petition based on live-in-relationship.The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan further observed where the girl is either minor or of tender...

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The Punjab & Haryana High Court has observed that Court is also the guardian of the minor girls or the girls of tender age, who may be enticed away by a male person due to infatuation of tender age and without knowing the consequences of filing a petition based on live-in-relationship.

The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan further observed where the girl is either minor or of tender age around 18 years, before disposing of any petition based on live-in-relationship, the Court has to give notice to the parents of the girl or direction be issued to the Illaqua Magistrate to record the statement of the girl to find out whether she has understood the consequence of filing the protection petition and whether she is capable of taking independent decision.

The matter in brief 

The Court was hearing an anticipatory bail plea in FIR registered under Sections 420, 198, 199, 200, 120-B of the IPC.

The petitioner Sujata had initially filed a criminal writ petition, along with co-accused Gaurav stating that she is in live-in-relationship with him and both be provided protection, however, the said petition was dismissed as withdrawn, for the obvious reasons that the Bench was not convinced.

Thereafter, the petitioner and co-accused Gaurav filed another criminal by concealing the factum of the first petition, however, this time it was disposed of with a direction to S.S.P., Gurdaspur to look into their representation seeking protection to the life and liberty.

Thereafter, the mother of the petitioner, filed a plea for recalling the order on two counts; firstly that the withdrawal of the first petition, was not disclosed in the second petition and secondly that Gaurav was a married person having a living spouse and, therefore, the claim of live-in-relationship was apparently false.

The said application was also disposed of with a direction to S.S.P., Gurdaspur to look into the grievances of the applicant. It was only thereafter, the police conducted an inquiry and registered the present FIR.

Petitioner submitted that she was not aware of the marriage of co-accused Gaurav when she filed the two successive petitions for protection on the basis of the live-in-relationship as she has filed a separate affidavit in both the petitions.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court observed that the zeal and zest of disposing of protection petitions based on a live-in-relationship, on the very first date without issuing notice to the parents of the girl who is aged about 18 years, some times result in deep trouble for the girl.

The Court also opined further that it was now well known that the protection petitions based on the live-in relationships are filed in a noble and calculated manner, just to create a ground of defence as parents of the girl file police case of rape and abduction.

"Needless to say, at the age, around 18 years, the primary concern of the parents of a girl is to educate her properly and to build up her professional career and such decisions are consciously taken by the parents, whereas the protection petitions, based on live-in-relationship, are filed by young persons based on emotional decisions taken from heart," added the Court.

Lastly, the Court directed the petitioner to appear before the Investigating Officer within a period of 10 days and granted her interim bail (in case of her arrest). However, she will have to join the investigation as and when called upon to do so.

The Investigating Officer has been directed to produce her before the Illaqua Magistrate, who will record her statement and submit a report to this Court if she wants to stay with her parents and whether she was aware that co-accused Gaurav is a married person, a fact which was concealed.

The Court also left it open for the complainant/mother to appear before the Illaqua Magistrate for the recording of her statement as well and in the meantime, S.S.P., Gurdaspur has been directed to ensure the arrest of co-accused Gaurav before the next date of hearing.

Case title - Sujata v. State of Punjab

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