The Gauhati High Court has observed that the large number of arrests made in the crackdown against child marriage had created ‘havoc in the private life of the people’.

The Bench of Justice Suman Shyam said that "These were not the matters of custodial interrogation. These were not cases related to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS), smuggling or stolen property, that custodial interrogation would be required."

"What do you get by custodial interrogation of these people? Either he has abetted or he has not. Either it's a case of child marriage or it is not. For that, is it necessary to have custodial interrogation? What is the idea behind this?" asked the Court.

Advocate R. Ali appeared for the petitioner and APP D. Das appeared for the respondent-State

A batch of Anticipatory Bail and interim bail applications under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code were preferred by the accused against whom cases were registered under stringent laws like the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) read with Sections 9/10 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The Court was apprised of the fact that the crackdown against child marriage had started on February 3, 2023 with 4,004 FIRs being lodged and till February 14, 2023, altogether 3,031 people had been apprehended against registration of 4,225 child marriage cases.

The Court further said that the allegations of rape levelled against the accused were very weird and the law would take its own course, if the marriage had taken place in violation of statutory provisions.

"The court is not acquitting anybody and nobody is preventing the government from investigating the cases of child marriages." said the Court

Accordingly, anticipatory bail was granted on furnishing a bond of Rs. 20,000/- with one local surety of like amount to the satisfaction of the arresting authority.

Cause Title- Abdulhai v. The State of Assam

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