Chandigarh, June 18, 2022: While dealing with a protection plea by a couple anticipating threat to their life and liberty at the hands of their family members, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the petitioner, a minor girl to make her appearance before the SHO, Police Station City Jind so as to insure that the concerned SHO could look into alleged threat perception and take appropriate action.
Prayer in the instant petition before the Bench of Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul filed under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India, was for issuance of directions to the official respondents to protect the life and personal liberty of the petitioner and her friend by providing adequate security/police protection and also directing private respondents not to interfere in the personal life and liberty of the petitioner.
As per the status report filed in the matter on behalf of the state, it was stated that an inquiry was conducted by the SHO, Police Station City Jind and during the inquiry, it came to the fore that the petitioner, who was a minor went missing at about 2:00 A.M. on December 5, 2021.
Soon thereafter, the father of the petitioner filed a case FIR under Section 363, 366 of IPC. Three days later, the petitioner was recovered from Delhi bye-pass, Rohtak and it was found that she had left the house of her own accord.
Resultantly, a cancellation report was prepared January 2, 2022, which was not yet filed before the Court concerned. However, on January 12, 2022, the petitioner again went missing from her house and a complaint was yet again made by her father respondent leading to the registration of another case i.e. FIR under Sections 363, 366 of IPC, at Police Station City Jind.
In the said FIR, the complainant-father specifically named Tushar, through whom the
petitioner filed the present petition, as her next friend. Thereafter, on February 11, 2022, on being recovered, the petitioner got recorded her statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C., wherein, she yet again stated that she
had left her house of her own accord and she did not want to reside with her parents.
She was also subjected to medico-legal examination. Still further, a detailed inquiry was carried out including the statement of the mother of the petitioner was recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C., wherein, it was alleged that Tushar was the real culprit and on the basis of her statement, offence under Section 18 of the POCSO Act, was added in the FIR, which already stood registered against Tushar.
In March, 2022, the minor again went missing from there, as a result of which an FIR under Section 346 of IPC, was registered at Police Station Sadar Jind, at the instance of
the petitioner’s maternal uncle, wherein, Tushar was named.
The State Counsel submitted that the petitioner, who was minor was in the illegal custody of Tushar and the latter was wanted by the police in the criminal cases, which was registered against him.
The State counsel, while drawing the attention of the Court to the other submissions made in the status report, submitted that a representation was made by the petitioner to the Superintendent of Police, Jind qua the alleged threat from private respondents, but on inquiry the threats were found to be without substance.
He further submitted that the whereabouts of the petitioner wee still unknown and in case there was indeed any fresh threat, she could always approach the police and they would provide protection to her, in case required.
A pointed query was put to the counsel for the petitioner qua the whereabouts of the petitioner, however, he too feigned ignorance about the same and submitted that though he did not know about the whereabouts of the petitioner, however, the petitioner was ready to present herself and make a statement before the police authorities as and when directed.
Therefore, in light of the above facts, the petitioner was directed to appear before the SHO, Police Station City Jind, within stipulated time.
On her appearance, the SHO concerned was directed to record the statement of the petitioner and look into the alleged threat perception.
“In case, the petitioner expresses her disinclination to go to the house of her parents, she shall be sent to the nearest Nari Niketan/Safe Home“, the Court held.