Mistakes of tender age must be handled with tenderness: HC - ECAS Punjab

Mistakes of tender age must be handled with tenderness: HC

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29

In a judgment that is liable to change the outlook of the courts towards runaway couples, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted that "mistakes of tender age ought to be handled with certain tenderness".

Justice Arun Monga asserted the court was left pondering "whether it was worthwhile to criminalise such activities of children? Would not making them criminals leave a lifelong scar on their minds, from which they may not be able to ever recover?"

Justice Monga further asserted the law envisaged that a consensual relationship with a minor regardless of her consent was a criminal offence. But he was of the view that it was not in the interest of a child generally to criminalise his/her activity as a straitjacket formula. Each case was required to be analysed on its own facts and circumstances.

Taking up a protection plea, Justice Monga observed petitions were almost daily being filed from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The newly-weds initially sought protection from the state and rushed to the courts on failure to get relief.

Also, one often heard of honour killing in the name of protecting family pride, not giving two hoots to the rights of the runaway couples. The problem appeared to be pan India — north to south. "It is a fight of 'love versus honour'! One wonders, what kind of mindless pride/honour is this, which so much blinds the family members/parents as to even kill their own, the ones they gave birth to and/or to eliminate her/his chosen partner?"

Justice Monga added he had to deal with many cases where one of the partners was not of marriageable age. Yet, orders were passed for granting protection as right to life envisaged under Article 21 stood on a higher pedestal vis-agrave;-vis alleged violation of statutory requirements of matrimonial law.

"It is certain that even if there is violation of statutory requirements of matrimonial law, as alleged, the person/party violating the same, cannot be hounded to be killed in the name of protecting honour of the family. Human life, therefore, has to be protected. It is the very basic ethos and the scheme of our Constitution particularly Article 21."

Justice Monga made it clear that the court could not delve further on the issues as the petition was withdrawn. "The questions posed are left open to be decided in the appropriate proceedings," the Bench asserted.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3e7EDbE

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