The Delhi High Court on Thursday slammed the Uttar Pradesh Police for arresting the kin of a man who had married a woman without the consent of her family. The couple, who were both adults had earlier moved the High Court earlier this month, saying that they married of their own consent in July, contrary to the wishes of the girl's family, and were now getting repeated threats from them.
The father and brother of the man were then arrested by the UP police, and for more than one month, their whereabouts were not known.
"You can't do illegal acts here," Justice Mukta Gupta said, who had earlier sought the personal presence of the SHO from the concerned police station in UP. "I will call for CCTV. I will direct departmental inquiry if I see UP Police arresting from Delhi. I want all CCTV footage and vehicle number. If I see UP Police entering, I will take action. We will not permit this," the judge added.
The court said the UP Police personnel, who came to Delhi pursuant to an alleged kidnapping complaint by the girl's mother, ought to have intimated the local police in Delhi and also attempted to trace the girl and ascertain the age as well her wish.
“When you got to know their address (of the boy), you would enquire (about the girl's whereabouts) and inform the local police. You can't take away anyone as per your will. You violated the law at every step. This won't be tolerated in Delhi,” the court said.
The SHO, who was present physically, told the court that they were not aware if the girl was a major or a minor as the complainant's mother had not shown them any document to ascertain the age. He also claimed that the arrest was made from Kudhara Bus Stand, District Shamli in UP.
The court, however, responded that the FIR itself clarifies that the girl was 21 years old.
“They can file a case against you (UP Police) for illegal custody. The FIR says she was 21 years of age but you arrest the brother and father without ascertaining her stand. If you close your eyes and brains while working, nothing can be done. There's no solution if you and your IO (investigating officer) can't read,” it said.
“We will take action against you. She is an adult. She married of her own volition and you go on and arrest. The FIR says she is 21. When she is an adult, you should verify what she wants. You didn't get to know about the girl but you got to know about the father-in-law and the brother-in-law?” it added.
The court sought an affidavit from the SHO on how the two persons, now in judicial custody in UP, were arrested and directed that appropriate action be initiated given the girl's stand that she eloped from her paternal house to get married to the man.
“An affidavit will be filed by the SHO PS Shamli indicating as to what efforts were made to trace the petitioner No.1 in Delhi, whose address was also revealed to them in the FIR and if they came to Delhi whether intimation of their arrival was ever made to the local Police Station before taking any further action,” the court-ordered.
"After you file your affidavit, the court will see what has to be done," it added.
The court directed that the statement of the girl be recorded before a Magistrate here either on Thursday itself or Friday. During the hearing, the court also reprimanded the mother of the girl for making a complaint to threaten the boy and asked if she had disclosed the age of her daughter to the UP police. “This may be working in UP, not here. Your crying will not make a difference,” the judge told the mother.
Delhi police had informed the court that, the man's family members were arrested by UP police on September 8, concerning a complaint made by the woman's mother under Section 366 IPC (Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) and no intimation of the arrival of their arrival was made to the local station here.
On October 26, the court had issued notice to the concerned UP police SHO while stating that it was trite law that persons under the jurisdiction of Delhi Police could not be apprehended by Uttar Pradesh Police without intimation to them to local police.
It was “unfortunate” that even without finding the facts and whether the parties were major or minor, arrests were made by the UP Police, the judge had observed. The matter would be heard next on November 18 when the SHO and the concerned investigating officer are directed to remain present before the court.
(with PTI inputs)