Law will take its own course: Gauhati HC on Assam govt crackdown on child marriages
15 February, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
The Gauhati HC on Tuesday raised significant issues on the ongoing crackdown on child marriages by the Assam government while stating "if the marriage is taking place in violation of law, the law w...
The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday raised significant issues on the ongoing crackdown on child marriages by the Assam government while stating “if the marriage is taking place in violation of law, the law will take its own course”.
Since February 3, more than 3,000 people have been arrested in the BJP-ruled state for allegedly marrying underage females, according to government data. The Gauhati High Court granted anticipatory relief to several accused in various cases lodged under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 r/w the POCSO Act on Tuesday, saying, “If marriage is taking place in violation of the law, the law will take its own course.”
Justice Justice Suman Shyam orally observed that “These cases have been happening since time. We will only consider if immediate custodial interrogation is required or not. At this moment, this court thinks that these are not matters for custodial interrogation. We will ask them to appear and record their statements. These are not Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) smuggling, stolen property cases.”
He also said, “The Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) you can add anything. What is the POCSO here? Merely because POCSO is added, does it mean judges will not see what is there?… We are not acquitting anyone here. No one is preventing you to probe. ……..These are not matters for custodial interrogation. You (the state) proceed as per law, file a charge sheet, if they are convicted, then they are convicted. It is causing havoc in the private life of people, there are children, there are family members, and old people.”
So far, 3015 persons have been arrested in Assam in connection with child marriage cases.
Assam police have arrested 216 people in Hojai, 184 in Nagaon, 183 in Dhubri, 158 in Baksa, 146 in Barpeta, 140 in Biswanath, 128 in Morigaon, 121 in Bongaigaon, 118 in Hailakandi, 108 in Kokrajhar, 107 in Karimganj, and 102 in Kamrup.
Police in the state have registered 4,135 child marriage instances.