high court himachal

A girl is not a cattle or non-living thing but a living independent soul having rights: Himachal Pradesh High Court

Suppressing or oppressing the freedom of an individual, which is contrary not only to his/her spiritual and religious rights but also constitutional rights, is to be deprecated. The balance needs to be maintained between individual, family, and societal interests and that should be in consonance with the constitutional mandate. Himachal Pradesh High Court gave the judgment in the case of Sanjeev Kumar vs. State of Himachal Pradesh [Criminal Writ Petition 2of 2021] citing the above-stated reasons by a bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Vivek Singh Thakur.

In the instant case, the petitioner and Miss Komal Parmar made the petition against Komal’s family members for threatening them and detaining his sister and Miss Komal. The couple intended to marry each other and made an application for the same u/s 5 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 supported by their affidavits. After the submission of the application, the petitioner and Ms. Komal Parmar had decided to live together, but in opposition to inter-caste marriage; the family, relatives, and friends of Ms. Komal Parmar had become furious and had started extending threats. It was claimed in the petition that Ms. Komal Parmar had been detained by the respondent, her family members and friends against her wishes, so as to prevent solemnization of marriage and the petitioner was being continuously threatened by the family and also by other persons belonging to their caste. And therefore the writ petition was filed by the petitioners to provide appropriate security to his family members & to himself as there was an imminent threat to their lives and property.

Thereafter, a complaint was made by the petitioner stating that he had married Komal but despite this fact, her parents took her away and continued to threaten them. On the contrary, Komal’s family denied all the allegations against themselves and stated that Ms. Komal Parmar was suffering from mental depression, and because of her mental health problem, she was not in a proper state of mind to understand the things to go for marriage. However, she contended that her family harassed her and administered some injections, and forcibly took her to the Mental Health Specialist. She stated that “Though she has stated that she has been thrashed, harassed and tortured while she was in the custody of her parents and others and, thus, she does not want to face such trauma again by opting to live with parents, but at the same time she has expressed that out of deep love for family and regards for others, she does not want to initiate any action against her parents”.

Komal stated that the main opposition for marriage was for the difference in caste and rest submissions by her father were nothing but an attempt to defer the solemnization of marriage so that avoidance of her marriage with petitioner could be managed by the passage of time by hook or crook.

Observing the arguments of both the parties, the court stated that “No doubt, parents are always worried about future and well being of their child and, thus, apprehension of respondent No.3 may not be said to be ill-founded but it is also true that parents, relatives, and friends cannot force an adult to act according to their whims and wishes by suppressing the wish and desire of the individuals”.

The court stated that “A girl is not a cattle or non-living thing but a living independent soul having rights, like others, and, on attaining the age of discretion, to exercise her discretion according to her wishes”. The court concluded that the petitioner and Komal had the right of taking their own decisions and entitled to the right recognized by the Constitution to lead their life the way they wish to. Hence, the petition was disposed of.

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