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Karnataka HC grants anticipatory bail to couple who got their adult son married to a minor girl.

Sonal Bhargava | Edited by Prabhat Bandhulya
Case Title: Gangulappa Narasappa & Anr. v State of Karnataka

The Karnataka High Court recently granted anticipatory bail to a couple who were booked for marrying their adult son to a minor girl.

Justice HP Sandesh granted the couple anticipatory bail because there were no claims that they had subjected the juvenile girl to any sexual actions.

They were charged under Section 376(2)(i)(n) of IPC(repeated rape of a woman), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act's Sections 5(L) (repeated penetrative sexual assault on minor), 5(m) (penetrative sexual assault of child below 12 years), and 6 (aggravated sexual assault), as well as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act's Sections 9 and 10.

The adult son and the minor girl's parents were also named suspects in the crime, which was reported after the Head Master of the school where the minor girl was enrolled submitted a complaint.

The petitioners' lawyer, Chethan AC, reminded out that the minor girl's parents had not filed a complaint. He claimed that the petitioners' only offence was under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, which is not punished by death or life imprisonment.

Furthermore, he argued that the minor girl's declaration explicitly said that her adult spouse had not done any sexual conduct, and thus the petitioners are entitled to bail.

The Court reasoned that because the underage girl said unequivocally that there was no sexual act, only Section 10 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (performing, conducting, or abetting child marriage) would be used against the petitioners.

As a result, it directed that the petitioners be freed on bail after posting personal bonds of 2 lakh each with sureties of the same amount in the event of their arrest.

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