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It is the duty of the Court to protect life and liberty of a major girl who, out of her own volition, wants to reside separately from her father: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

No law or religion gives a license to a father to harass or intimidate his major daughter just because she does not accede to wishes of her father to marry a particular person. It is not open to a father or relatives of a girl to take law into their own hands as stated by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K and Ladakh through a learned bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Dhar in the case of Anjum Afshan & Ors. Vs. State Of J&K & Ors [OWP No.83/2019 (WP(C) No.203/2019].

Petitioners filed the writ petition seeking a direction upon respondents to ensure safety of their life and honour. A further direction asked the official respondents to proceed against the private respondents in accordance with law. The case of the petitioners, in brief, was that the petitioner No.1 entered into wedlock with petitioner No.2 out of her free will and volition against the wishes of her father i.e., respondent No.7. According to petitioner, respondent No.7, father of the petitioner No.1, is a person of ill repute who has entered into wedlock four times and has divorced the mother of petitioner No.1. It was further averred that the respondent No.7 wanted to give petitioner No.1 in marriage to an illiterate truck driver and the same was resisted by petitioner No.1 who is stated to have lodged a complaint with Women’s Commission in this regard. The petitioners were stated to have approached this Court by way of several writ petitions including OWP No.1064/2017 and OWP No.546/2016, which are pending before this Court. It is alleged that private respondents i.e., respondents No.6 to 9, invaded the house of the petitioners and raised a hue and cry over there and in case petitioners are not protected from the said respondents, they apprehend that they will be killed.

The Hon’ble High Court after have heard learned counsel for parties and perused the material on record, stated that “It is not in dispute that the petitioners No.1 and 2 are major and it is also not in dispute that they have entered into a wedlock out of their own will and volition. The question whether learned Sub Judge, Sopore, was justified in passing an order of restraint on marriage of petitioner No.1 is left to be decided in appropriate proceedings. However, one thing is clear that even if petitioner No.1 has violated the said order, it is not open to respondent No.7 and his associates to harass the petitioners or to intimidate them. The proper course for them is to approach the concerned court seeking action for breach of its order. No law or religion gives a license to a father to harass or intimidate his major daughter just because she does not accede to wishes of her father to marry a particular person. It is not open to a father or relatives of a girl to take law into their own hands. It is the duty of the Court to protect life and liberty of a major girl who, out of her own volition, wants to reside separately from her father.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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