Bombay High Court: Vibha Kankanwadi, J., expressed that Child marriages are hazardous to the social fabric of this Country.
The applicant was apprehending his arrest for the offence punishable under Sections 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 read with Sections 9, 10, 11 of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and Sections 3 and 4 of the Protection of Children from the Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Analysis and Decision
High Court observed that the informant was 17 years old at the time of lodging the FIR.
According to the informant, at the time of settlement of marriage, her paternal uncle, mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother-in-law were present. Except for brother-in-law, all the persons referred to above are accused persons in this case.
The applicant appeared to be aged 27 years at that time whereas the informant would be aged around 16 years at the time of marriage. Though the applicant stated that at the time of the marriage, it was posed to him that the informant was 18 years of age.
The Bench stated that since the applicant was married to the informant, and she had not resisted or whatever sexual intercourse between them was with consent or voluntary.
Child marriages will have to be stopped and no person can be allowed to take advantage of any such situation.
Court added that the persons cannot be allowed to go away by putting a defence that they had taken the precaution and in fact what was represented, was different at the time of settlement of marriage.
Lastly, the Bench held that when the offences alleged against the applicant involves a social problem, this Court was not inclined to use the extraordinary discretionary relief under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in favour of the applicant. [Trimbak v. State of Maharashtra, Anticipatory Bail Application No. 203 of 2022, decided on 12-4-2022]
Advocates before the Court:
Mr. Rahul R. Karpe, Advocate for the applicant
Mr.A.M. Phule, A.P.P. for Respondent No.1 – State. Mr.S.S. Gangakhedkar Advocate h/f. Mr. S.D. Munde Advocate for Respondent No.2