SHC wants female psychiatrist and psychologist to examine girl in underage marriage case

Jamal Khurshid
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the provincial health secretary to depute any female psychiatrist and psychologist, specially dealing with juveniles, to make frequent meetings with a girl, who was found to have married a man in Punjab despite being underage, currently residing in a shelter home.

The high court said that after meeting the girl, the female psychologist and psychiatrist should both submit a report with regard to her status and present recommendations for her well-being.

Hearing an application of Zaheer Ahmed, the youth who is accused of kidnapping the girl and marrying her illegally, who challenged a sessions court order with regard to medical examination of the underage girl, a single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that both the psychiatrist and psychologist would be at liberty to file their reports, statements and recommendations with regard to the present status of girl, treatment of trauma, if any, and further therapy.

The high court ordered the child protection director general to ensure that the girl’s parents and sisters could visit her in the presence of a child protection officer. The SHC directed that any female family judge, except that of the family court 29, shall also be deputed to visit the girl to ensure that sufficient time was allowed to the parents.

The bench directed that the family judge and incharge child protection shall ensure removal of all apprehension of the girls with regard to her meeting with the parents.

The high court observed that the family judge shall be at liberty to file her report with regard to her visit in the presence of the girl’s parents and sisters. The bench observed that the inspection team member shall coordinate the meeting on October 13 after consultation with respective parties.

A counsel for the complainant submitted that he would be satisfied if the girl was examined by a psychiatric and psychologist thoroughly who shall submit their opinion with regard to the present status of the girl regarding her decision of her alleged marriage and continuation of education and whether she had suffered any psychological trauma in the entire episode that began on April 16.

The high court observed that the application of Ahmed would be decided on merit. Ahmed and others were booked by the police for kidnaping an underage girl from Karachi. According to the police, Ahmed kidnapped the underage girl in the Al-Falah Colony area with abetment of other co-accused and married her in Lahore.

Ahmed submitted in his application that he was booked by the police along with other family members in a child marriage and kidnapping case despite the star witness of the case had categorically stated on oath that she was not kidnapped and had married of her own free will.