J&K High Court: Life and Liberty of the Interfaith Couple Should Be Protected

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On 13th August 2020, Hon’ble  Justice Rajesh Bindal heard the case of Shelli Sehria and another vs Union Territory of J&K and others, via video-conferencing. The Court gave directions to protect the life and liberty of the interfaith couple.

Facts of the case

The petitioners solemnized their marriage against the wishes of their family members. It is an inter-religious marriage. The execution of the marriage agreement took place on 06-06-2020. Their marriage was solemnized on 11-07-2020 for which a certificate was issued. Thereafter, the wife (petitioner) went to her residence to inform her family about the same. Her family members tortured her and fixed marriage with someone else. On 07-08-2020, she left her home to live with her husband. 

They filed a Writ Petition on 10-08-2020 that sought protection for their life and liberty. On 11-08-2020, the matter was listed in the Court. The counsel for petitioners submitted that they were unable to come to his office to appear in Court. This was because the family members of the wife are threatening their life and liberty. On 08-08-2020, the respondents registered an FIR against the husband (petitioner) under Section 366 of IPC. Subsequently, he was arrested. The Court granted them interim protection in order to appear for the hearing at the counsel’s office. The case was directed to be adjourned on 13-08-2020.

Arguments of the petitioners

The wife said that she married her husband against the wishes of her family members, but with her own will. She had informed her family members about her proposed marriage to which they disagreed. The petitioner’s counsel argued that the wife is a 21-year-old who solemnized the marriage with her husband without any pressure. Moreover, she was not kidnapped by anyone as she left her home on her own will. Thus, it cannot be a case of abduction. Protection of their life and liberty is sought.

Court’s Observation and Order

The marriage is an inter-religious one attracts threat to the life and liberty of the petitioners which should be protected. In case the husband is in custody, the wife might face difficulty due to her family members. Therefore, the Court directs that the husband is released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of ₹25,000. 

The petitioners would like to stay in the village of Mangu Chak. The village falls under the jurisdiction of Satwari Police Station. The Police of the said Police Station is directed to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners. The statement of the wife shall be recorded under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C before the Magistrate concerned, for the purpose of investigation in the aforesaid FIR. The Court disposed of the Writ Petition.


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