On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court has refused to detain an 18-year-old girl who had eloped with a 20-year-old man, after she appeared before the court pursuant to a habeas corpus petition filed by her father.
The division bench comprising of Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and Bhalchandra U Debadwar was hearing the habeas corpus plea filed by the woman’s father, C. D. Chavan who had claimed that his daughter eloped with the man in December 2020, and thereafter, he had filed a missing complaint.
Subsequently, the girl’s father moved to court in February 2021 through advocates M S Karad and S S Thombre.
Woman’s Submissions Before the Court
Pursuant to the same, the woman appeared before the court voluntarily. The court verified her identity and age and noted that she was 18 years and six months old, an adult individual.
The woman told the court that she is in love with the man who is 20 years and 11 months old and that they have planned to get married after he attains the marriageable age of 21 years.
The woman told the court that she had left her father’s house and had been “happily living” with the man at a residence unknown to both the parents. She added that her father had assaulted the man’s father and blamed him as his son had eloped with her.
The woman sought protection, apprehending harm from the petitioner to her, the man, and his parents. The woman refused a request by the petitioner’s lawyer to speak or meet with her father.
“We deem it appropriate to note that if the missing woman or the respondent man suffers any physical harm and if they allege that the petitioner has caused the same, the petitioner would be then liable for action, in accordance with the law,” said the division bench.
“Since the missing girl is an adult and the respondent man is also an adult, though not of a marriageable age, we have no reason to detain the missing girl, considering the specific replies given by her,” the bench further added.
Further, the court directed the assistant sub-inspector of police present there to accompany the woman and the man to ensure that they safely board a bus to travel to a place of their choice without being stopped and disposed of the petition.