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Punjab & Haryana HC dismisses kidnapping charges against man saying “Husband is the natural guardian of minor Hindu girl who married him on her own free will”

A kidnapping complaint against a man who married a minor was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which concluded that he had the authority to “serve as the girl’s natural guardian.” The claim was made when the Bench was notified that the girl, who was a child at the time of the marriage, was living with the man on her own accord. 

After the man filed a plea seeking the dismantling of the FIR lodged for illegal detention under Section 346 of the IPC, the issue was brought before Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill’s Bench. The FIR was eventually amended to include the charges of kidnapping under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The girl was said to be a child at the time of the marriage, according to Justice Gill. However, the reality remained that she married the petitioner of her own personal decision. In the instance of a minor, the parents were lawful legal guardians under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, and the marriage was voidable under the Hindu Marriage Act. However, because the pair selected their life partners against their parents’ wishes and were continuing their relationship and living together, the court may consider that the ward’s welfare was of primary significance under Section 25 of the Guardians and Wards Act and could not be overlooked. 

Further, Justice Gill asserted that the girl had solemnized her marriage to the petitioner and that their marriage certificate had been submitted with the court. The petitioner was in a relationship with the girl since he was the petitioner’s husband. He had a right to hold as natural guardian of the minor Hindu girl wedded to him under Sections 19, and 21 of the Guardians and Wards Act and Sections 6, 10, and 13 of the Hindu Minority & Guardianship Act.

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