HC relief for Afghan convict to marry with his Sikh lawyer

Sofi Ahsan
A local court held him guilty of murder and in September 2017 sentenced him to life imprisonment. (Representaional photo)

He is an Afghan national and serving jail term in a culpable homicide case. She is a lawyer who met him in jail. He is 26 years old, she in her early 30s. They fell in love. The duo first moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court last year seeking permission to get married.

That wish granted, they again moved the high court, this time seeking permission to get the marriage registered. The high court recently ordered that their marriage be registered under police custody.

The twists and turns in life of Ehsanullah began in 2016 when the Afghan national was pursuing graduation at Post Graduate College, Sector 46 in Chandigarh. On March 21 that year, he was arrested for the murder of another Afghan national Sanaullah. Ehsanullah, as per the police report, had stabbed Sanaullah in the abdomen following a dispute between them over a certain matter at a mosque.

A local court held him guilty of murder and in September 2017 sentenced him to life imprisonment. Ehsanullah challenged the verdict in High Court, which, in January this year changed his conviction to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and modified the sentence to five years. It also ordered that he be deported after the completion of sentence.

It was during his legal battle in the murder case that Ehsanullah came in contact with the Sikh woman lawyer.

Though, he was represented by a senior advocate in his appeal in the murder case, the woman now handles his legal representation. Love bloomed and soon they were exchanging more than legal notes.

After giving it some time, Ehsanullah, in October 2018, had approached the high court with a plea for interim bail to allow him to marry the woman. The court, allowing the plea, had said there was no bar on him against getting married to the girl of his choice and directed the police to make appropriate arrangements for taking him to a mosque in Sector 20, Chandigarh.

The duo got married on October 15, 2018. His relatives from Afghanistan attended it. Ehsanullah was taken back to the prison after the marriage. The couple now wanted to get their marriage registered as per the law and approached the high court for permission, said advocate Vishal Khatri, who represented Ehsanullah in the matter.

Allowing the plea, the court of Justice Kuldip Singh ordered that Ehsanullah be taken in custody before Registrar of Marriage, UT Chandigarh for the purpose of registration of marriage on any date he intimates the jail authorities.

If the petitioner is required to appear subsequently also on another date for completing the formalities of registration of marriage, he can be taken there in police custody, Justice Kuldip Singh said.

The 26-year-old has been in the prison for three years and eight months now.

Though the court had ordered that he be deported after serving the sentence, his wife is likely to initiate another legal battle to stay with him.