M A I N   N E W S

Shruti sent to Jalandhar Nari Niketan after she refuses to go with her parents
Balwant Garg/TNS

Faridkot, October 23
Faridkot girl Shruti Sachdeva and her alleged abductor Nishan Singh were produced in the court of the Chief Judical Magistrate here amid tight security. The court ordered that she be sent to the Nari Niketan in Jalandhar.

The 15-year-old first told the magistrate that she wanted to go home with her parents and also wanted to be medically examined. But, within minutes, she took a U-turn saying she didn’t want to go with her parents. She also refused to undergo a medical examination.

Given the girl’s self-contradictory statements, the court ordered that she be sent to the Nari Niketan. A police party took her to Jalandhar, but the shelter home authorities refused to admit her. Nari Niketan general secretary Anjana Talwar said the institution was only meant for small children.

“Shruti will have to be sent to the State Protection Home in Amritsar. We are getting corrections made in the court order for her admission to the Home,” said Faridkot DIG Parmod Bhan.

Police Commissioner Gaurav Yadav, however, said: “Shruti will remain in the Nari Niketan as per the court orders. The Nari Niketan management told us it didn’t have any security. So, we have made security arrangements in a very discreet manner.”

“The Nari Niketan is not a government-run organisation for homeless girls. It is run by an NGO for children with special needs and orphans. The safety and security of these children could be in peril,” explained Naresh Gujral, a senior Akali leader.

He said the administration had been asked to make alternative arrangements for Shruti’s stay.

Parents of Shruti have accused the police of pressuring the girl to change her statement in the court.

The DIG has refuted the allegation. He said the police had moved an application for the medical examination of the girl and requested the court to order her custody to her parents. “We cannot interfere in court proceedings if the girl changes her statement in the courtroom,” he added. “Our task was limited to the recovery of the girl and nabbing the accused,” he said.

Shruti’s parents alleged the police did not allow them to talk to the girl when she was produced in the court. “I could only see my daughter. I was not allowed to speak to her,” said Shruti’s mother Seema.

“The only sentence my daughter uttered to me was that the entire family would be eliminated if she went with us,” she said. “My daughter was under police pressure to change her statement,” she alleged. “For the past one month, the police had been promising us to bring our daughter back to us but we were not even allowed to speak to her in the court,” she alleged. DIG Parmod Bhan said the police acted as per law in producing the girl in the court. The police did not raise any hindrance in parents speaking to their daughter, he claimed. 

Police remand

The police produced Nishan Singh in the CJM court on Tuesday evening. He was remanded in police custody for five days


In her first statement in court, Shruti wishes to go with parents

Within minutes, she refuses to go with her parents

She also refuses to undergo any medical examination

The CJM court orders to send her to the Nari Niketan at Jalandhar

Shelter home authorities refuse to admit her, saying they can house only small children

Administration asked to make alternative arrangement for Shruti









Age is not on Shruti’s side
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, October 23
By “tying the knot”, Shruti Sachdeva and Nishan Singh have got themselves tangled in major legal trouble.

A recent Supreme Court judgment, relied upon by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for deciding cases of marriage without parental consent, makes it clear that the determining factor in all such matters is the girl’s age and consent.

Though Shruti has reportedly been claiming that Nishan was her husband and their relationship was consensual, age is not on her side. Shruti is believed to be just 15 and therefore, a minor.

The Supreme Court in the case of “Fiaz Ahmed Ahanger and others versus the State of Jammu and Kashmir” had recently asserted: “In cases of inter-caste or inter-religion marriage, the court has only to be satisfied about two things: That the girl is above 18 years of age, in which case, the law regards her as a major vide Section 3 of the Indian Majority Act, 1875. A major is deemed by the law to know what is in his or her welfare; and the wish of the girl”. Relying on the judgment, Justice Mahesh Grover of the High Court has been disposing of the petitions filed by the runaway couples by directing the authorities concerned to look into the allegations contained in the petitions and take necessary steps in accordance with law, if the situation so warrants.

In one such case, Amanat Brar and another petitioner had moved the High Court against the State of Punjab and other respondents. Justice Grover observed that the petition was filed for directions to authorities concerned to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners which was alleged to be in danger on account of their having married against their parental consent. Justice Grover asserted: “Even though this court is disinclined to entertain and to go into such allegations, at the same time it cannot be oblivious to the fact that because of social friction and sectarian differences such incidents are not entirely unheard of and prima facie the case also appears to be covered by the observations of Supreme Court in Fiaz Ahmed Ahanger case….” Justice Grover has also been clarifying that the “order shall not be construed to be conferring the legitimacy or authenticity to the factum of marriage having been performed as well as the age, as the court is clearly deprived of any means to determine the aforesaid facts”.



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