In their petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a couple said they have been taking shelter at different places since last month as they apprehend danger from the girl’s parents and two uncles who want her to marry a 35-year-old divorcee. In the protection plea of the live-in couple where the girl is just 16-and-a-half-years old and her 21-year-old boyfriend from Punjab’s Pathankot district are involved, the High Court has observed that it was not for the court to introduce personal ideas on morality or engage in social norms. The court has directed the police to protect the couple from threats.
As per a report by Indian Express, while acknowledging that the marriage of a minor is not legal as per the Hindu Marriage Act, the High Court said since the marriage between the two is yet to be duly performed, only their life and freedom were involved in the case. Justice Rajiv Narain Raina said that since the plea was based on Article 21( right to life and personal liberty), it calls for immediate attention of the police. “It is not for this court in a protection petition to engage itself in social mores, norms and human behaviour or introduce personal ideas on morality,” Justice Raina was quoted by Indian Express as saying. The HC bench has asked the couple to contact the Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police and directed the SSP to personally look into the matter and “offer help, which is consistent with their safety”.
The girl told police that she had left her parental home on her own and does not want to marry the divorcee. She had also approached the police earlier and written a letter to the SHO of the police station in her village and the Gurdaspur SSP, seeking protection.