Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court: Sanjay Dhar, J., held that it is not open to a father or relatives of a girl to take law into their own hands and it is the duty of the Court to protect life and liberty of a major girl who, out of her own volition, wants to reside separately from her father.

The petitioners had approached the Court seeking a direction upon respondents to ensure safety of their life and honour. The case of the petitioners was that they had entered into wedlock out of their free will and volition against the wishes of the father of petitioner 1.

The petitioner 1 contended that her father was a ill repute who had entered into wedlock four times and had divorced her mother. It was further averred that her father wanted to give her in marriage to an illiterate truck driver and the same was resisted by her and she had even lodged a complaint with Women’s Commission in this regard.

Further, the petitioners alleged that private respondents i.e., respondents 6 to 9, invaded their house and raised a hue and cry over there and in case petitioners are not protected from the said respondents, they apprehend that they would be killed.

The respondents contested the petition for protection on the ground that the petitioner 1 had entered into a wedlock by suppressing the fact that there was already a restraint order passed by the Sub Judge, whereby she had been restrained from contracting marriage. According to the respondents, as per Shariat, consent of father his very important for marriage of daughter and without the consent of father, marriage is incomplete.

The Bench observed that the question whether the sub judge was justified in passing an order of restraint on marriage of petitioner 1 could be decided in appropriate proceedings, however, even if the petitioner 1 had violated the said order, it was not open to her father and his associates to harass the petitioners or to intimidate them. The proper course for them was to approach the concerned court seeking action for breach of its order. The Bench stated,

“No law or religion gives a license to a father to harass or intimidate his major daughter just because she does not accede to wishes of her father to marry a particular person.”

Hence, the writ petition was partly allowed and the State was directed to ensure that the petitioners were not harassed at the behest of respondents. [Anjum Afshan v.  State of J&K, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 884, decided on 10-11-2020]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the petitioners: Mr. S. H. Thakur, Advocate

For the State: Mr. Sheikh Feroz, Dy. AG, vice

For the Respondents: Mr. B. A. Dar, Sr. AAG, for R1 to R6. and Mr. M. S. Reshi, Advocate-for R7 to R9.

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