Chandigarh, May 24: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a court hearing protection pleas by runaway couples was not required to deliver sermons on morality or human behaviour, and a groom who tied the knot with an underage bride would not part ways with their right to seek protection of life and liberty.

“It is not for this court in a protection petition to engage itself in social mores, norms and human behaviour or introduce personal ideas on morality. Even if it is assumed that the girl is minor, it must be remembered that in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, marriage of a minor girl is not void, but voidable on reaching the marriageable age,” Justice Rajiv Narain Raina ruled, as reported by The Tribune. 

The runaway couple had moved the High Court against the state government and other respondents, claiming that they both were adults. 

In an attempt to substantiate their contentions, their counsel annexed Aadhaar cards, indicating that the girl was born in 2002 and the boy in 1997. The counsel added that the petitioners were apprehending arrest, besides bodily harm and injury. Directions, as such, were required to be issued to Chandher police station in Amritsar district to protect their life and liberty. 

The state counsel, on the other hand, submitted the girl was a minor and an FIR had already been registered. Justice Raina asserted the girl’s age was in dispute. Yet the prayer was based on Article 21 of the Constitution.

Justice Raina directed the Amritsar SSP to personally look into the matter and offer help consistent with their safety.

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