Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 16
She is 19 and he 67, and both are living happily as married couple. Just about a month after the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered Palwal Superintendent of Police to hold an inquiry into the possibility of forced marriage, the Bench was told that the bride had tied the knot on her own free will and volition with the groom — a father of seven children from his first marriage.
As the case came up for resumed hearing, Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri was told that the bride in her statement recorded before a court had stated that she has married with her mother and brother’s consent and was staying at her in-laws’ house happily.
A status report placed before Justice Puri’s Bench added that the bride was earlier married to a resident of Alwar district in Rajasthan, but she was not happy with the marriage. She married for the second time on May 18 and they had no problem with it. The inquiry also revealed that the groom, too, was married earlier, but his wife was not alive. He had four sons and three daughters, all of whom were married.
Taking a note of the submissions, Justice Puri observed that it had come to light that “there was no force or threat of any kind in the performance of the marriage of the petitioners”. Considering the totality of the circumstances of the present case, Justice Puri accepted the prayer by the counsel for the petitioner-couple for dismissing the petition as withdrawn.
Justice Puri had, on the previous date of hearing, observed that it was a shocking case where protection was being sought by a girl of 19 and a man of 67. It was not clear from the pleadings or the arguments by their counsel whether the man had solemnised first marriage or multiple marriages. The circumstances under which a girl of 19 had married an old man, too, were not clear.
“Prima facie this court is of the view that there is some suspicion with regard to the marriage. The possibility of forced marriage can also be not ruled out at this stage,” Justice Puri added.
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