“No-one else will accept her as wife”: Bombay HC validates marriage of 14-year-old girl

Report By Shivani Baddi | Christ College Student Bengaluru | Last Updated at May 07 2019

Mumbai: The high court has recently declared the marriage of a now 56-year-old advocate, with a girl, who was 14 years old at the time of the marriage, valid. The girl turned 18, on September 17, 2018 and has supposedly expressed her willingness to cohabit with the accused.

This marriage had taken place in 2014, the accused was 52 years old then. The 14-year-old girl he “married” filed a case against him stating that she was forced into marriage by her grandparents.

The advocate, was then taken in judicial custody for 10 months and released on bail.

There are also reports of the same man getting arrested in December, 2017 for rape and other offences under the Indian Penal code and provisions of children from Sexual Offences Act and the prohibition on Child Marriages Act. The advocate had then filed a petition requesting the HC to nullify the case filed in 2014.

The same woman filed an affidavit in the HC last week saying she has settled the dispute and has no objection with the case being quashed.

While delivering the judgment, the division bench comprising of Justice Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre expressed concern about the woman’s welfare and hence directed the advocate (husband) to transfer 10 acres of land in her name, open a Fixed Deposit account with rupees 7 Lakh and ensure that she finishes her education.

The bench also directed that the police should not take any steps towards probing the case.

The court further adjourned the petition of declaring the case void till September. If all the aforementioned measures are taken, then the case will be quashed.

Prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai has opposed this petition saying that quashing this kind of a case would send a wrong message at large to the public.

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