HC refuses to send minor girl with her “husband”

HC refuses to send minor girl with her “husband”

Orders police to lodge her in a Home until she attains majority

The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday refused to send a 17-year-old minor girl along with her “husband” despite the girl confirming to have married him and expressing unwillingness to go along with her father.

Passing interim orders in a habeas corpus petition filed by A. Ganesh of Melur taluk who claimed to be her husband, a Division Bench of Justice S. Tamilvanan and Justice V.S. Ravi said the marriage between the couple was not valid in law. They directed the police to lodge the girl in a women’s home until she becomes a major on April 15 this year and produce her before the court the next day for passing final orders in the case. Permitting her to go along with the petitioner would be against the law, the judges said.

Though the petitioner’s counsel produced a Delhi High Court order permitting a minor girl to go along with her lover, the Division Bench said that the order cited by the counsel was only per incuriam (a judgement passed without reference to statutory provisions) and not a ratio decidendi (a reasoned decision).

Writing the interim order for the Bench, Mr. Justice Tamilvanan said that a marriage involving a minor girl would be a nullity in the eye of law and there was no necessity even to obtain a divorce decree with regard to such a marriage.

“On the said facts and circumstances, permitting a minor girl to go along with her lover in our view is against law and would not meet the ends of justice. She would be at liberty to take a decision only on attaining majority,” the Bench said.

The judges also chose to rely upon the Class X certificate of the girl to determine her age though the petitioner produced a doctor’s opinion to prove that she had attained majority. “The doctor’s opinion cannot prevail over a certificate issued by the School Education department,” the judges added.



‘Death penalty for Barua won’t hit ULFA (I)’

‘Death penalty for Barua won’t hit ULFA (I)’

Experts on the north-east say the death sentence awarded to United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) chief Paresh Barua and 13 others will have little impact on the outfit as both Barua and most of his cadres have already shifted base out of Bangladesh. They were handed the death penalty by a special court in Chittagong on Thursday for smuggling 10 truck loads of arms into Bangladesh in 2004.

Intelligence officials in the State, however, feel that the elusive insurgent leader will be under pressure to come forward for talks should Myanmar act on the lines of Bangladesh and evict insurgents from north-east, including Barua and his cadres, from its soil. The Assam police have intelligence inputs that Barua is currently operating out of his base along Myanmar-China border.

The seized consignment included 4,930 sophisticated firearms of different types, 840 rocket launchers, 300 rockets, 27,020 grenades, 2,000 grenade-launching tubes, 6,392 magazines and 11.41 million bullets.

R.N. Ravi, an expert on the north-east, who earlier served with the Intelligence Bureau, said the Bangladesh court sentence would not have any direct impact on Barua, except a psychological impact on those cadres who are still staying in the neighbouring country.

Mr Ravi, however, felt that if Barua ever comes over for talks with the Indian government, then Bangladesh might seek his extradition and India might be under pressure to hand him over for trial by the Bangladeshi court. He said Barua coming over for talks was inconceivable, unless he lands in a trap.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s security adviser G.M. Srivastava said: “This will tell the people of Assam that what Barua is doing is arms smuggling and not what he claims to be doing — fighting for Assam’s sovereignty. Personally I would like to have him here in Assam to carry forward the peace process with the ULFA. Barua should now realise that the time has come to change his attitude and he should come back home to sit for talks with the government,” Mr. Srivasatva said.

The ULFA, the rival faction of Paresh Barua-led ULFA (Independent), also feels that the Chittagong court verdict would have little impact on Barua or his faction.

Sashadhar Choudhury, the self-styled ‘Foreign Secretary’ of the original ULFA, felt that any sentence passed by a court in India or Bangladesh was of no significance to a rebel leader like Barua.

“He is no longer associated with our organisation. However, looking at the issue from our perspective, handing out death sentence in the arms smuggling case may be significant for law abiding citizens. But for an insurgent, who does not abide by the law and stays in jungle to carry on an armed struggle, it is of no significance,” he added.

Barua headed the military wing of the ULFA as its self-styled commander-in-chief till the insurgent outfit split in 2011, when the outfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and other top leaders were apprehended in Bangladesh in 2009 and handed over to India. They later signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre and the Assam government to pave the way for a formal dialogue.


Experts on the north-east say both Barua and most of his cadres have already shifted base out of Bangladesh


Indian-origin woman charged with attempted murder

Indian-origin woman charged with attempted murder

A 36-year-old woman of Indian origin, arrested by Scotland Yard as part of an anti-terrorism operation here, has been charged with attempted murder.

Kuntal Patel was held on January 26 as the anti-terror police raided a property at Stratford in east London after intelligence inputs suggested the presence of toxic chemicals there. She is due to appear before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

“Kuntal Patel has been charged with attempted murder following an investigation by the Counter Terrorism Command,” the Metropolitan Police said. “We are not able to discuss further at this stage. Inquiries are ongoing as part of an intelligence-led, pre-planned operation.”

Ms. Patel, who works at Barclays Bank in Canary Wharf, is the daughter of magistrate Meena Patel, who sits on the Bench at the Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London. Her home in Stratford, which she shares with her mother and sister Poonam, had been at the centre of a major search operation for days.

The police said the searches were carried out as a precautionary measure and they had not found anything yet to suggest that the public were at risk. — PTI


Teacher among 3 held for rape of 7-year-old disabled girl

Teacher among 3 held for rape of 7-year-old disabled girl

A teacher and two other employees have been arrested on the charge of raping a seven-year-old deaf and mute girl of a residential school in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, the police said on Thursday.

The incident occurred on January 13, just a week after she was admitted to the school for deaf and mute.

The incident came to light when the caretaker took the girl to her parents, saying she was injured. They found the girl bleeding, and lodged a complaint with the police.

The father said she was operated upon twice in the last two weeks.


Case against Tejpal for threatening police officer

Case against Tejpal for threatening police officer

Inspector Sunita Sawant of the Goa Police Crime Branch on Tuesday filed a complaint in the city police station here that Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal had threatened her.

He is in judicial custody over the sexual assault on a journalist, a case Ms. Sawant is investigating.

On Wednesday, Panaji police registered a non-cognisable offence of criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code against Mr. Tejpal.

Mr. Tejpal was interrogated by Ms. Sawant and others between November 30 and December 10 while he was in police custody. He threatened her during the interrogation, the complaint alleged.