Love jihad – Use whatsaap video calling to record statement

Bombay High Court Directs Nagpur Police

Nagpur – Maharashtra: In a trendsetting directive to the city police, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, on 15 September 2017, asked them to record statement of girl, who was accused by her family of becoming victim of “love Jihad”, through WhatsApp video call. The female named Monika Shridhar Ingale eloped with Mohammad Arif Mohd Bashit Dosani after their families opposed their union and later tied nuptial knot at an unknown location. Monika was renamed as Aayat after Nikaah.

A division bench comprising justices Vasanti Naik and Murlidhar Giratkar came up with these instructions after couple’s counsel Vilas Dongre informed that both of them are in safe custody and were deliberately kept away from the city for their safety. He informed that Monika Ingle can’t be brought here immediately, as she was about 400kms-500 kms away and it would be unsafe for both of them, as right wing activists are on their prowl.

The judges then asked Imamwada Police to use technology to record her statement instead of calling her all the way to city. They directed investigation officer to also include public prosecutor when girl’s statement would be recorded. The cops would submit details to the court within a week.

The couple knocked the high court’s doors for protection from right wing activists after they received death threats. In Criminal Writ Petition 820/2017 they claimed that the mob, along with Imamwada Police, forcefully entered into the house of Arif’s aunt at 2.30am on August 30, and threatened to kill their entire family, if she failed to disclose the couple’s location.

The court came to couple’s rescue when the case was filed, by asking police to grant protection to them. While flaying the cops for not helping the couple, the court issued notices to commissioner of police K Venkateshan, police inspector Ramakant Dhurve and sub-inspector Amol Jadhav at Imamwada station for allegedly searching the premises of petitioner’s aunt and brother-in-law without following due procedure of law. The court sought to know why an issue was made out of a legally valid marriage of two majors.

During last hearing, petitioner’s counsel pointed out that Jadhav was also present when the mob stormed boy’s aunt’s home and demanded that the couple be brought to the police station or an offence of kidnapping would be made out against him. Subsequently, the court directed to add Jadhav as respondent. Dongre submitted three affidavits on Ingle’s behalf which affirms that she was a major and decision to marry Arif was her own. The girl’s family lodged a missing complaint on August 29 after she allegedly left home on the pretext of going to an Internet cafe but failed to return.

Earlier the same division bench, while trashing the charges against the couple, disposed of the case filed by the boy to get the girl’s custody. The decision came after petitioner’s counsels — Shashibhushan Wahane and Raspal Singh Renu — informed the court that the couple had performed ‘nikaah’ (marriage)’ as per Muslim rituals. A criminal application filed by the girl’s father against the boy was also disposed of.

The couple knew each other since last six years, fell in love and decided to tie the nuptial knot. But the girl’s parents refused to accept the Muslim boy. On August 15, both decided to flee from home. They left for Bhandara and stayed there for a night before returning to the city.

The next day, they went to Sakkardara police station and informed the officials there that they were going to marry. The police conveyed their decision to the girl’s parents. As the girl was a resident of Sangam Chawl, Sitaburdi, the couple was sent to Dhantoli police station. In her written statement, the girl expressed willingness to settle with the Muslim boy while clarifying that she doesn’t want to return to her parents’ home.

A drama followed there when the girl caught the boy’s hand and asked him to run away after her parents vehemently opposed their union, and levelled charges against the petitioner.

The Dhantoli police tried their best to pacify the girl’s parents but their efforts proved futile. Subsequently, they sent the girl to Priyadarshini Vasatigruh (Nari Niketan) in Civil Lines without seeking consent from judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) on the same day. Later, her custody was handed over to her parents against her wishes. Since then, she had been in their “illegal custody”, the petitioner claimed.

The boy, a resident of Tajbagh, then approached the judiciary and prayed to get the girl released. He contended that they both were majors and independent to take decisions regarding their marriage as per the laws.

During pendency of the plea, the girl managed to escape from her parents’ home on Tuesday, and eloped with her boyfriend. The next day, they married and informed police officials and the court.

In her statement before the court on Thursday, the girl narrated her plight at her parents’ home, how every movement of hers was being closely watched, and she wasn’t allowed to even meet her nearest relatives. She was also prohibited from attending the court hearings and forcefully kept in confinement to avoid coming in contact with her boyfriend.

Considering the fact that both were major, and had already entered into matrimony as per Muslim rituals, the court disposed of the petition in their favour.

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