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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Absolutely weird’: Gauhati HC raps Assam govt, grants bail to some in child marriage cases
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‘Absolutely weird’: Gauhati HC raps Assam govt, grants bail to some in child marriage cases

These are not matters of custodial interrogation. You (state) proceed as per law, we have nothing to say. If you find somebody guilty, file a chargesheet. Let him or her face trial and if they are convicted, they are convicted: HC to Assam govt

Assam Police had arrested over 2,000 people involved in child marriages during a massive crackdown across the state, at Basistha, in Guwahati on 3 February (ANI)Premium
Assam Police had arrested over 2,000 people involved in child marriages during a massive crackdown across the state, at Basistha, in Guwahati on 3 February (ANI)

Assam child marriage crackdown: The Gauhati High Court has granted anticipatory bail to none people held in custody by the Assam Police for interrogation with relation to the state ruling government-led crackdown on child marriages. 

The Gauhati High Court cited that the crackdown has caused ‘havoc in the private lives of people’, while observing that there is no need for custodial interrogation of the arrested or accused in this case. 

The Assam high court also condemned the state government for slapping the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and rape charges on those found guilty of child marriage. The Gauhati High Court called the allegations and accusation from the BJP-led Assam government ‘absolutely weird’. 

Justice Suman Shyam allowed all the petitioners in the child marriage cases to be released on bail with immediate effect.

"These are not matters of custodial interrogation. You (state) proceed as per law, we have nothing to say. If you find somebody guilty, file a chargesheet. Let him or her face trial and if they are convicted, they are convicted," the judge said.

"This (arrest) is causing havoc in the private life of people. There are children, there are family members, there are old people. This may not be a good idea to go for (arrests), obviously it is a bad idea," he observed on Tuesday.

Till February 14, altogether 3,031 people have been apprehended against registration of 4,225 child marriage cases. The crackdown had started on February 3 with 4,004 FIRs.

Justice Shyam told Additional Public Prosecutor D Das that the state government does not even have space in the jails and suggested that the administration come up with bigger prisons.

When the government advocate pointed out that cases were registered under non-bailable charges under POCSO Act and rape (IPC Section 376), Justice Shyam said, "What is the POCSO here? Merely because POCSO is added, does it mean the judges will not see what is there?"

The high court is not acquitting anybody and nobody is preventing the government from investigating the cases of child marriages, he added.

"Why Section 376 (of IPC)? Is there any allegation of rape here? These are all weird allegations, absolutely weird," Justice Shyam observed.

Justice Shyam further asked, "What do you get by custodial interrogation of these people? Either he has abetted or he has not. Either it's a case of child marriage or it is not. For that, is it necessary to have custodial interrogation? What is the idea behind this?"

(With PTI inputs)

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Published: 15 Feb 2023, 03:29 PM IST
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