60-yr-old UP chairman marrying teenager: HC orders three separate inquiries
The High Court today ordered authorities to conduct three separate inquiries into allegations that a 60-year-old union parishad chairman in Patuakhali married a 14-year-old girl at an arbitration.
Issuing a suo motu (voluntary) rule, the court asked the deputy commissioner (DC), district registrar and Police Bureau of Investigation of Patuakhali to conduct the inquiries and submit the probe reports before it in 30 days through the Supreme Court registrar general.
They have also been directed to find out whether the 60-year-old UP chairman, Shahin Hawladar, has committed any offence by marrying the girl and to mention it in the probe reports.
The HC also directed the superintendent of police of Patuakhali to ensure the security of the girl and her family until further order.
In the rule, the HC questioned the legality of Shahin marrying the girl.
The HC bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzzaman came up with the suo motu order and rule after some SC lawyers including former deputy attorney generals Amatul Karim Swapna, Ekramul Haque Tutul and Seema Zahur placed some newspaper reports on the allegation against Shahin Hawladar and asked for necessary directives.
The lawyers told the HC that Shahin Hawladar violated the relevant rules of the Marriage Registration Act and the Child Marriage Restraint Act.
Deputy Attorney General Samarendra Nath Biswas represented the state during the hearing.
According to media reports, Shahin Hawladar, chairman of Konakdia union parishad under Bauphal upazila of Patuakhali, who is already married with two children, married the 14-year-old at an arbitration he called over the girl eloping with a 19-year-old boy.
Shahin, who is also the general secretary of the Konakdia union unit of Awami League, married the girl -- saying she is an 18-year-old in legal documents.
Shahin called a Kazi (marriage registrar) and married the girl at his house in Ayla village on the night of June 25. His first wife was present in the house at the time, media reports said.