The Punjab High Court, on 17th February, 2023, in Tek Chand v/s State of Punjab and others (CRM-M-5992-2023), held that swayamwar as a practice was followed since the era of Mahabharata and the Ramayana and is a fundamental right under Article 21. The judgement was presided by Honourable Mr. Justice Jagmohan Bansal.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petitioner sought the quashing of an FIR under sections 363 and 366-A IPC. The allegations were of kidnapping the girl and later solemnising marriage with her. The petitioner contended that the marriage was solemnised in the year 2019, and the couple had two children from the marriage. The couple moved the court for the protection of life and Liberty, and that they are cohabiting peacefully together, as a family. The petitioner sought to quash the FIR filed by the girl’s father.
The court held the importance of marriage as an institution in the Indian culture, that marriage is recognised as practice where two families come together to become one. The institution goes beyond a contract or meeting of two opposite sexes. Further, it was held that the practice of Swayamwar can be traced to the holy era of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In contemporary times, Swayamwar can be traced as a human right, under the fundamental right of Article 21.
Swayamwar can be understood as the liberty of an individual that is exercised to select a partner.The Court also shed light on the object of law, which is to protect the personal liberty and life and not otherwise, which is to disturb an individual’s well settled life. Commission of an offence attracts punishment, but an individual cannot simply be punished because the act performed did not fall into the bracket of somebody’s liking. Drawing on this, the court observed that both the parties on the marriage were major, and the marriage was performed against the parents’ wishes. The couple is happy I’ll cohabiting, with their two children and the law has no right to infiltrate their life without any fault. The individuals have a the liberty to lives their lives as per their wish, and a pending criminal proceeding refuses this right of an individual. Continuance of criminal proceeding will disturb the lives of the couple as well as create possibilities of disturbance for the children. Thereby, the court allowed the petition and quashed the FIR.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ARYA THAKUR.