The Delhi High Court quashed criminal proceedings against a man who was arrested for eloping and marrying a minor girl as it noted that they are married and happily residing together.

An FIR was registered under under Sections 363 and 376 IPC and Section 6 POCSO Act by the father of the victim alleging that the petitioner “enticed his daughter and took off with her.

During the course of the investigation, the victim, who was a minor aged between 16-17, recorded her statement stating that she left the house of her parents on free will as her parents objected to the relationship between her and the petitioner and threatened to kill them if she continued to be in contact with him.

The victim also stated that she was in a physical relationship with the petitioner with her consent and free will and eventually got married and had two minor children as well. However, there was no document, witness or photograph present to support their marriage.

A Single Bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar observed, “One cannot lose sight of the fact that both the petitioner and the respondent no.3 are happily residing together with their two minor children and are considering to restart their lives together with a new beginning. This Court cannot be a silent spectator to or turn its back on the distressed family. If the impugned FIR is not quashed, the petitioner will have to face incarceration for at least 10 years which will negatively impact their lives, including their two minor children.

Advocate Manish Kumar Salman represented the petitioner, while Standing Counsel Sanjay Lao appeared for the respondents.

The Court remarked that the “victim has solemnized marriage with the petitioner and they both are living happily and harmoniously and it is also in the interest of society to settle and re-settle the family for their welfare.

The Court delved into the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and considered the lives and future of two minor children, and quashed the criminal proceedings against the petitioner.

The Court held, “The petitioner’s prosecution and conviction will lead to pain and tears in the eyes of the family members of both the parties and future of two families will be at stake, whereas, if the impugned FIR is quashed, it would serve the ends of justice and would bring joy to both the families and two minor children as well.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the petition.

Cause Title: Prem Kumar v. The State & Ors. (2024-DHC-621)


Petitioner: Advocate Manish Kumar Salman

Respondents: Standing Counsel Sanjay Lao, Advocates Shivesh Kaushik, Priyam Aggarwal,. Abhinav Kumar Arya, and Anand Ranjan

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