Allahabad High Court reunites interfaith couple in Etah

The Allahabad high court reunited an interfaith couple and quashed a first information report (FIR) lodged over the alleged abduction of the woman for marriage.

A FIR was filed against Salman for allegedly abducting the 21 year-old Shikha and compelling her to marry him. The FIR dated September 27, 2020 was registered under sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage etc) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Kotwali Dehat police station of Etah district.

Earlier, when Shikha was produced before the court, she submitted that she had attained the age of majority and her date of birth was October 4, 1999. She also said she married and wanted to live with her husband namely Salman alias Karan, who was also present in court, of her own free will.

On December 7th, the Chief Judicial Magistrate(CJM) of Etah had placed Shikha in the custody of the Child Welfare Committee(CWC), who had said she must return to her parent’s house and live in their custody.

Habeas corpus writ petition, was filed by Salman who submitted before the court that his wife (Shikha) had been handed over to her parents by the Child Welfare Committee(CWC) against her wishes.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal allowed the writ petition and observed, that “she had attained the age of majority and she has a choice to live her life on her own terms.She has expressed that she wants to live with her husband Salman, she is free to move as per her own choice without any restriction or hindrance being created by third party.”

The High Court also observed that the act of CJM, Etah, and that of the CWC, Etah, reflects lack of appreciation of legal provisions.

The court quashed the FIR and directed the investigation officer of the case, who was present in the court, to ensure appropriate protection to Shikha and her husband Salman alias Karan till they returned to their residence.

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