Karnataka High Court quashes criminal proceedings against accused for marrying a minor

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The Karnataka High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the accused for marrying a minor on the ground that the survivor and the child are dependent on the accused for their livelihood, and except the accused, they have no source of independent income.

A Single Bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Ganesh.

The Survivor who is the wife of the petitioner – accused No1 herein is present before the Court and has filed an affidavit stating that petitioner is the sole breadwinner of the family to take care of herself and her child and if the criminal proceedings is allowed to be continued and if the petitioner is incarcerated, she and her child will be put to more agony and misery rather than securing the ends of justice.

The Petitioner is sought to be prosecuted for the offences punishable under Sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

In this case, the petitioner married on 17.02.2019 a minor who was the daughter of the complainant’s sister, in contravention of the provisions of the Prohibition of the Child Marriage Act, 2006.

High Court Government Pleader (HCGP) submitted that the offence under the provisions of Act is non-compoundable and the material on record clearly discloses that the petitioner in violation of Act, has solemnized his marriage with the Survivor.

The Court noted that the Survivor who is present before the Court has produced the Aadhar card indicating that her date of birth as 25.06.2001. As on the date of the offence, the survivor was aged about 17 years 8 months. As of date, the survivor is aged more than 22 years. From the said wedlock, a male child was born on 09.02.2023. The survivor and the child are dependent on the petitioner for their livelihood, and except the petitioner, they have no source of independent income.

“If the criminal proceedings are allowed to be continued, it would result in incarceration of the petitioner, and it would cause misery and agony rather than serving the ends of justice to the Survivor and her child. Therefore, the continuation of the criminal proceedings will be an abuse of process of law”, the Court observed while allowing the petition.

“The impugned proceedings in C.C. No 95/2020 on the file of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru City stands quashed”, the Court ordered.

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