Punjab & Haryana High Court Denies Anticipatory Bail in Minor Wife Kidnapping Case, Dismisses Muslim Personal Law Claim

Punjab & Haryana HC denies anticipatory bail to man accused of minor wife's kidnapping, dismissing Muslim Personal Law defense.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently refused anticipatory bail to a man accused of kidnapping his minor wife, rejecting the argument that the marriage was valid under Muslim Personal Law.

Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan emphasized the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which safeguards minors from sexual offenses, stating, "The Act defines a child as any person below 18 years and overrides inconsistent laws."

The case involved a Muslim man booked under IPC Sections 363 and 366-A for allegedly kidnapping a 15-year-old girl he had married in 2023. Despite the girl expressing reluctance to return to her parents, she was placed in a Children's Home due to her minor status.

The petitioner cited a previous High Court ruling (Javed v. State of Haryana and Ors.) asserting a minor Muslim girl's right to marry under personal law. However, the Supreme Court's ruling in NCPCR v. Javed & Ors. invalidated this precedent, cautioning against its use in other cases.

Considering this, the Court concluded that the victim's minority status warranted further investigation by the Special Court. Therefore, anticipatory bail was denied as no compelling grounds were found under Section 438 CrPC.