Delhi HC bats for ‘true love’, quashes FIR against man for eloping with ‘minor’


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

‘When the scales of justice have to be weighed, they are not always on the basis of mathematical precision or formula’

Quashing a kidnapping and rape case against a man who had eloped with a ‘minor’ girl, the Delhi High Court has remarked that “true love” between two individuals, one or both of whom may be minor or minors on the verge of turning adult, cannot be controlled through the rigours of law or State action.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, in a recent judgment, took note of the fact that the couple “made a choice” about themselves, even though the law did not permit them to enter into a marital union. “This judgment portrays the story of love between Ms. ‘A’ [girl], who was allegedly a minor as per the State and Mr. Khan, who eloped at the calling of their love”.

The couple got married as per Islamic rituals and ceremonies since they both belonged to the same religion, with the blessings of Mr. Khan’s parents.

However, an FIR was lodged against the man by the girl’s father in January 2015. At the time of the “recovery” of Ms. ‘A’, she was five months pregnant. She refused to abort the child as it was born out of her “marital union with and love for Mr. Khan”. A daughter was born to the couple. In her statements before the police as well as the magistrate, she stood by her stand that she married the man for love and was 18 years of age at the time of the incident. Mr. Khan remained in jail till April 2018 until he was granted bail and since then the couple is living happily and has given birth to another daughter.

“In none of the statements at any stage after the lodging of the FIR by the father of Ms. ‘A’, did Ms. ‘A’ allege that she had been kidnapped or was a minor or was sexually assaulted or sexual intercourse was committed by Mr. Khan against her will,” the High Court noted.

Justice Sharma said, “When the scales of justice have to be weighed, they are not always on the basis of mathematical precision or mathematical formula. At times, while one side of the scale carries the law, the other side of the scale may carry the entire life, happiness and future of toddlers, their parents and the parents of their parents.”

Noting that the future of families and the two daughters — aged eight and two and half years — born out of this wedlock, and the wife who is a homemaker and “the beautiful harmonious life that they have built together in the last nine years is at stake”, Justice Sharma quashed the FIR.

Case Title: Arif Khan v. State (2024 Del HC)