Friday August 19, 2022

Police told not to arrest anyone in free-will marriage cases

By Our Correspondent
June 29, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the police from arresting anyone in a free-will marriage case, and ordered the family of the girl who had married against their wishes to approach the appropriate forum to challenge the marriage.

The direction came on a petition of Umm-e-Hani who had filed a plea to quash an FIR registered against her husband with regard to her kidnapping.

The petitioner said that she had married Aftab Ali of her own free will, but her family members were annoyed with her decision and had registered a kidnapping case against her husband and in-laws.

The counsel for the petitioner’s father said that the petitioner was underage, so her marriage was not permissible under the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013, and he sought the appropriate order with regard to the marriage of the petitioner.

After hearing the arguments of the counsel, an SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar said the petition was only to the extent of quashing the FIR registered under sections 365-B and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Patiyari police station in Hyderabad regarding the alleged abduction of the petitioner by the persons nominated in the FIR.

The court said the investigating officer had recorded the statement of the petitioner, who said that neither was she kidnapped nor had been coerced to enter into a marriage with Ali, and she had confirmed her statement before the court.

The court disposed of the petition, and directed the IO to file her statement along with his final report under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Court before the trial court concerned that would pass the appropriate order in accordance with the law.

Regarding the marriage of the petitioner under the child marriages restraint act, the court said that the respondents could avail the appropriate remedy that was available in law. The court restrained the police from arresting anyone in respect of the FIR, and ordered that no harassment should be caused to the petitioners, while the necessary protection should also be provided to the petitioners in accordance with the law.