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Guj HC orders immediate release of inter-faith couple

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Gandhinagar, Jan 21 (IANS) Taking up a Habeas Corpus plea, the Gujarat High Court has ordered the immediate release of an inter-faith married couple, arrested by Palanpur police in Banaskantha district on a complaint from the woman’s family.

A 30-year-old Muslim man from Palanpur married a 29-year-old Hindu woman of the town in December last year.

On January 9, following the complaint by the woman’s father that his daughter stole Rs 82,000 and fled with an already-married Muslim man, the Palanpur police had detained the couple, who were residing in Surat. A local court subsequently sent them to four day police custody, as sought by the police.

Following the arrest, the man’s brother approached the high court on January 18 with a Habeas Corpus petition, seeking production of his recently-married brother and claiming the arrest illegal.

Taking up the petition, the high court quashed the remand order issued by the local magistrate and asked the Palanpur police to release the couple immediately.

A division bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and Sangeeta Vishen expressed its displeasure over the events, with its order on Tuesday saying “the facts are quite glaring and also shocking”.

It also observed that Palanpur police had shown “undue fervour” while dealing with this case of “inter-religion marriage”.

In its order, the high court directed the Inspector General of Police, Banaskantha, to inquire into the conduct of police inspectors of Palanpur East and Palanpur West police stations, “in whose custody the couple has been detained for all these days”.

As the couple have settled in Surat where the husband works, the public prosecutor has assured the court that the Surat Police Commissioner will be intimated to provide them protection, initially for a period of four weeks.




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