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Law will take its own course, says Gauhati High Court on Assam govt crackdown on child marriages

Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday raised serious questions on the ongoing crackdown on child marriages by the Assam government while observing "if the marriage is taking place in violation of law, the law will take its own course".
As per the official data, more than 3,000 people have been arrested for allegedly marrying underage girls in the BJP-ruled state since February 3. Granting anticipatory bail to certain accused in different cases booked under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 r/w the POCSO Act, the Gauhati High Court on Tuesday said that, "If marriage is taking place in violation of law, the law will take its own course."
Justice Justice Suman Shyam orally observed that "These cases have been happening since time. We will only consider if immediate custodial interrogation is required or not. At this moment, this court thinks that these are not matters for custodial interrogation. We will ask them to appear and record their statements. These are not Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) smuggling, stolen property cases."
He also said, "The Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) you can add anything. What is the POCSO here? Merely because POCSO is added, does it mean judges will not see what is there?... We are not acquitting anyone here. No one is preventing you to probe. ........These are not matters for custodial interrogation. You (the state) proceed as per law, file a charge sheet, if they are convicted, then they are convicted. It is causing havoc in the private life of people, there are children, there are family members, and old people."
Assam police have so far arrested 3015 people in connection with cases related to child marriage.
According to the data shared by Assam police, 216 persons have been arrested in Hojai, 184 in Nagaon, 183 in Dhubri, 158 in Baksa, 146 in Barpeta, 140 in Biswanath, 128 in Morigaon, 121 in Bongaigaon, 118 in Hailakandi, 108 in Kokrajhar, 107 in Karimganj, 102 in Kamrup.
Police have registered 4,135 cases related to child marriage across the state. (ANI)

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