Monday, November 29, 1999

Police told to trace girl who married against parents`` wish

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New Delhi, Jun 16 (PTI) A court today directed a senior Delhi police officer to trace a girl who has gone missing a few days after marrying her boyfriend against the wishes of her family. Vacation Judge Kamini Lau directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) concerned to ensure the production of the girl Chanchal Sharma before the court on June 19, noting that she had earlier apprehended threat to her life from her parents. "What is worrying this court is the fact that Chanchal, who had previously approached the High Court apprehending danger to her life, is not traceable. The question is where is Chanchal. Despite opportunity, the SHO has miserably failed to ensure her presence," the court said. The girl, who claims herself to be major, married Gaurav Sharma on May 18 at an Arya Samaj temple here. Her father Kashi Ram Sharma lodged an FIR with Vijay Vihar police station here against Gaurav alleging he had kidnapped his "minor" daughter with an intent to wrongfully confine her. Chanchal, on the other hand, moved the Delhi High Court on May 31 seeking police protection but the prosecution "misled" the court by stating that the girl was 17 years 11 months and 11 days old and so was minor, the court noted. The High Court had then dismissed her plea. "The SHO has confirmed that the age of the girl as per her school/educational certificates is May 12, 1992, thereby proving that on the date of her marriage on May 18, 2010, she was 18 years 6 days old. "It is apparent that an incorrect information has been furnished to the Hon''ble Delhi High Court by the investigating officer without proper verification of the age of the girl," the court noted. The matter came to the vacation court yesterday as Gaurav who was arrested on June 10 applied for bail. The court had directed the police to produce the girl before it today but the investigating officer submitted that she was handed over to her family which now claimed that she was missing. "The father of the girl has in connivance with the investigating officer misused and abused the process of law. It is the obligation of the court to respect her decision and protect the young couple from harassment," the court said. "Assuming that on the date of her marriage, the girl was hardly 17 years 11 months and 11 days old, the marriage under these circumstances would only be voidable which can be validated on the option exercised by the minor girl on her attaining the age of majority, which she had done when she made a statement to the Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC, the court noted. Lau, meanwhile, granted interim bail to Gaurav, who was accused of kidnapping the girl by her father till June 19. The court also directed the DCP to take action against those responsible for furnishing wrong information regarding age of the girl before the High Court.

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