P&H HC Cites Shakespeare in Favor of Quashing FIRs Involving Runaway Couples

In a notable judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has emphasized the need for flexibility in handling petitions to quash kidnapping cases involving runaway couples. Justice Sumeet Goel highlighted the court’s ability to consider the full context of each case, including situations where the alleged victim was a minor at the time but has since reached majority and continues in the marriage.

The court expressed that if a couple has married and is living harmoniously, and particularly if they have children, the High Court should consider quashing such FIRs with a “high degree of latitude.” Justice Goel evoked William Shakespeare’s *A Midsummer Night’s Dream*, quoting, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind,” to underline the point that love transcends the physical and conventional barriers.

This legal discourse arose during a hearing of a petition by a man who had been accused in 2009 of enticing a girl for marriage. Arrested in 2016 and later bailed, he argued that they had married out of love and had been living as a couple since 2010, with three children born from their union.

Justice Goel critiqued the often paternalistic motivations behind such FIRs, emphasizing that parental control should not extend indefinitely to the detriment of their children’s autonomous decisions and established familial relationships. He remarked, “For parents to tether their affinity towards a daughter only through injured honor or dominance of will is neither altruistic nor a kindred affinity.”

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Referencing another Shakespearean work, *Henry VI*The judge noted, “A marriage is a matter of more worth, than to be dealt in by attorneyship,” underscoring the sanctity and personal significance of marriage over legal entanglements.

Representatives from both sides presented their cases, with advocates GBS Gill and Shilesh Gupta for the accused, Adhiraj Singh Thind for the State of Punjab, and Tejinder Pal Singh representing a respondent, contributing to the multifaceted legal discussion.

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