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Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court order seeking manglik status of rape survivor

The Supreme Court on Saturday stayed the Allahabad High Court order that had directed the Head of Astrology Department, Lucknow University to determine whether an alleged rape survivor was a mangali/mangalik by examining her Kundali.

The Vacation Bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Pankaj Mithal, during a special sitting, stayed the operation and effect of the May 23 order delivered by the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Brij Raj Singh in Lucknow, after taking suo motu cognisance of the same.

While hearing the bail application of a man accused of raping a woman on the pretext of marriage, the Lucknow Bench of the High Court had granted three weeks time to the Astrology Department of Lucknow University to decide whether the girl was a mangali (an unfavourable planetary condition in the horoscope, usually associated with marriage).

It further directed the Head of Department (HoD) of the varsity to submit a detailed report before the Court in a ‘sealed cover’

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while terming the HC order as ‘disturbing,’ said the same may be stayed.

The Counsel appearing for the complainant submitted that the order was passed with the consent of parties and that the High Court had the power to call for expert evidence. He further submitted that Astrology was a subject taught in University.

The Apex Court said that while it was not joining facts on what astrology had to do with the matter, but this was totally out of context as the right to privacy of an individual was disturbed. 

It observed that a court of law, when deciding on a bail application, could not enter into the realms of astrology, which were private matters of an individual.

The Vacation Bench further said that it respected the wishes of everyone on the issue, but was only concerned with the subject matter linking to this. It added that astrology had nothing to do with the case. 

The top court of the country directed the High Court to decide on the bail plea of the accused on merits. The High Court will take up the matter on June 26.

The accused had allegedly refused to marry the victim claiming that the woman has ‘Mangal Dosha’ in her ‘kundali’. However, the charge was refuted by the Advocate appearing for the survivor. He said the woman did not have any ‘Mangal Dosha’.

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