HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Referred Judgements :-
REG V. BERRIMAN
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CHANDRA REDDY, J. -
(1.)The petitioner was convicted under Section 6 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act and sentenced to a fine of Rs. 50/- He along with two others were charged with this offence in connection with the marriage of their youngest brother who had not completed 18 years of age at the time of marriage. The 2nd accused (petitioner herein) is the uterine brother of the child who was married on 3-7-1953, the 1st accused being their half brother and the 3rd accused the father of the bride. The material portion of the complaint which initiated the prosecution runs thus:
"The 1st and 2nd accused have an undivided brother a minor by name Venkatappa Naidu also called Venkatappa Chowdari, who is under their custody and lawful gurdianship. The 1st accused is the manager of their joint family and he and 2nd accused both negotiated for the marriage of the said Venkatappa Chaudari to the above said Salamma."
(2.)Thus, it is seen that the gravamen of the charge against the first accused was that, he being the guardian of the child, solemnised the marriage of his ward, an offence punishable under Section 6 of the Act. As regards the 2nd accused the complaint was that he negotiated for the marriage of his younger brother with Salamma. The prosecution adduced evidence which only supports the recitals in the complaint namely, that the 1st accused was the manager of the joint family of which the 2nd and 3rd accused were members and that he performed the marriage and that the part played by the 2nd accused was the same as attributed to him in the complaint. The prosecution also proved that the bride-groom had not completed 18 years and on that relevant date he was only 17 years 8 months and 23 days, by filing an extract from the birth-register.
(3.)When the 2nd accused was questioned under Section 342 Cr.P.C. he said that the bride-groom was his ward and that he had completed 19 years. The trial court thought that in view of the statement of the 2nd accused the 1st accused could not be the guardian of the child and it was the 2nd accused that managed the affairs of the bride-groom and was also his guardian within the meaning of Section 6. Therefore, it is the 2nd accused that incurred the liability in respect of this marriage and not the 1st accused. As he felt that only one of the two could be the guardian, and rightly in my opinion, only such person as occupied that position would come within the purview of that section. In this view of the matter, he found the 2nd accused guilty under Section 6 and acquitted the 1st accused as well as the 3rd accused who was not shown to have committed any offence within the meaning of that section.
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