Patna High Court: Sending Minor Girls to Protection Homes in Elopement Cases Not “Illegal Confinement”

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The Patna High Court ruled that sending underage girls who have eloped to protection homes cannot be said to be in illegal confinement, and cannot be challenged by a plea of habeas corpus.

Brief facts of the case 

The Petitioner had submitted the report stating that his 16-year-old daughter had gone to the market (Sirni Bazar) to purchase medicines on 10th December 2018 and did not return. After interrogating some villagers, he came to know that she was seen leaving the same market with Dhanjeet Yadav.

The petitioner came to know that his daughter had submitted a false mark sheet to the registrar and gotten married to Dhanjeet, who she had been having an affair with for the last two years. He further alleged that the Dhanjeet had forcibly abducted his daughter and illegally married her. The daughter had subsequently returned to her parents’ house after marriage as well.

The petitioner had issued the photo of admit card to the court. He asked for her release on the ground of his daughter is a minor.

Trial of the case

The Learned ACJM had sent the victim to the short-stay home. When she was produced in front of the court on 2nd March, she said that she did not wish to stay with her parents. She was retaken to the aftercare home, and the petitioner subsequently filed a writ petition for his daughters’ release.

Verdict 

The Court observed that the claim for the release of the petitioner’s daughter from unlawful detention of Nari Niketan could not be termed as ‘unlawful detention’. This cannot be subjected to punishment.

The Courts’ action in cases of minor children is always that of a guardian. It always acts in the best interest of children who don’t understand their interests.

It may be argued before the court that the condition of these homes is not proper. It is the responsibility of the State to look after the same as no one can question the reason for the establishment of such institutions.


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