A major girl is free to marry anyone or live with anyone she likes

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J., decided a petition, wherein FIR registered against the petitioner was quashed in light of the fact that the petitioner and one Manisha Kumari, both were major and had married of their own free will.

The petitioner sought anticipatory bail in a case registered under Sections 363, 366 and 120-B IPC. He was alleged to abduct one Manisha Kumari and induce her to compel marriage. The petitioner submitted that the said Manisha Kumari was his legally wedded wife.

The High Court perused the record and found that both parties, the petitioner and the said Manisha Kumari, were major as was evident from their matriculation certificate. Also, the said Manisha Kumari clearly stated that she was not willing to reside with her parents and would only reside with the petitioner with whom she has solemnized marriage. The Court referred to Article 16 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 23 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to hold that it is more than settled that a major girl is free to marry anyone or live with anyone she likes and in case that she was now married and residing with the petitioner, then no offence could be alleged to have been committed by the petitioner. The parties have a right to live their lives the way it suits them and no person or authority much less the parents of the girl could interfere with their lives.

It was held that the petitioner did not commit any offence and accordingly, the petition was allowed and FIR was quashed. [Narender Kumar v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 144, order dated 2.2.2018]

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