Above: Hadiya and Jahan: The controversial marriage
Centre’s advice to court also includes this: “…when two individuals marry as per their wish (such as inter-faith), and come to register the marriage, they should be informed at that time that their lives are in danger.”
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday (March 7) reserved its judgment on khap panchayats’ interference in inter-faith marriages of consenting adults. The bench was hearing a petition (filed in 2010) by NGO Shakti Vahini against khap panchayats which sought directions from the Central and state governments on preventing honour crimes.
The bench has already expressed its displeasure on such khap panchayats interfering into personal matters. The CJI has said that the main, and probably the only, mater to be be decided was whether a third party can interfere if two adults decide to marry.
While the counsel for the khap panchayats have said that they were in support of inter-faith marriages but were there to stop only marriages between close relatives in Hindu families, situation on the streets point otherwise. This “conscience keeping” role is what the court has frowned upon.
The CJI has already said: “If people decide to marry, they are adults and you are nobody to interfere.” Already, on January 16, the court had declared that interference in the decision of adult men and women of different castes to marry by khap panchayats or even parents was illegal.
Among the advice are some interesting points. They are:
- The central government said if any obstacle arises before a married couple, then the government should take strict action against those putting up the obstacle.
- All state governments have special units. Those who have inter-faith marriages will be given protection.
- The central government also said that when two individuals marry as per their wish (such as inter-faith), and come to register the marriage, they should be informed at that time that their lives are in danger.
- The police has many types of guidelines for the protection of married couples as well as to deal with those people who take the law in their hands.
- In the suggestion, the Central government also said that strict action should be taken against police personnel who do not take any action despite a police complaint.
- There should be cases against people who bother the two who marry as per their own wishes.
– India Legal Bureau