LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 4, 2021: While hearing the protection plea filed by a newly wed couple, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered an inquiry into their background after finding that the woman petitioner is 19 years of age while her husband is a 67-year-old. 

“Prima facie this Court is of the view that there is some suspicion with regard to the aforesaid marriage and the possibility of forced marriage can also be not ruled out at this stage,” the High Court observed while terming as “shocking” the enormous age difference between the petitioners. 

The couple, who hail from Haryana’s Palwal area, filed the petition under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India with a prayer for issuance of directions to the Haryana police to protect their life and liberty and to their family members not to harass or interfere in their peaceful married life. 

Hearing the petition, the bench of Justice Jusgurpreet Singh Puri observed, “It is a shocking case where the protection is being sought by two petitioners i.e. petitioner No.1 being a girl of 19 years of age and petitioner No.2 being a man of the age of 67 years and they are stated to have married each other vide Annexure P-3”. 

The bench further said it is not clear from the pleadings or from the arguments raised by the counsel for the petitioners as to whether petitioner No.2 has solemnized his first marriage or multiple marriages or under what circumstances a 19-year-old girl had got married with an old man of 67 years of age.

“In view of the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, it is directed that Superintendent of Police, Palwal shall forthwith today itself depute a team of police officials including lady police officials to reach out to petitioner No.1, namely, Sanjida and ensure her protection forthwith thereafter,” the bench stated during the hearing on August 2.

It added that the team constituted by the Superintendent of Police, Palwal shall enquire into the entire matter not only with the present marriage but also with regard to the background of petitioner No.2 and produce petitioner No.1 before the Ilaqa Magistrate for recording her statement. 

The Ilaqa Magistrate shall record the statement of petitioner No.1 after ascertaining her voluntariness, the Bench directed, adding that thereafter the Superintendent of Police, Palwal shall also file his affidavit himself in the Court. 

“Let the entire exercise be carried out within a period of one week from today (August 2). So far as the protection to be granted to petitioner No.1 Is concerned, the same shall be done forthwith,” the bench said.  

The matter was adjourned to August 10, 2021. 

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