-report by Monishka Allhabadi
The Supreme Court ruled in the case LAXMIBAI CHANDARAGI V. STATE OF KARNATAKA that two consenting adults don’t need the permission of their family, community, or clan to marry. On February 8, the Supreme Court ruled over again that two adults who have agreed to marry don’t need permission from family, community, or clan. The Supreme Court issued its decision in response to a petition filed by a couple from Karnataka who eloped and married after the woman’s family refused to approve of their union. A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy ruled that the decision of an adult to marry the person of their choice shouldn’t be tormented by concepts like “class honor” or “group thinking.”
In this case, a family filed a missing complaint of their daughter who eloped and married someone without informing them. Following an investigation, the local police discovered Chandaragi’s whereabouts and it was revealed that she had married and was living with her husband. Despite this, police demanded that Chandaragi appear at the local police office to relinquish an announcement, failing which a kidnapping case would be filed against her husband at her parents’ request. To that end, the couple petitioned the Supreme Court, alleging that the IO was threatening the lady to return to Karnataka or he would file a kidnapping case against her husband.
The division bench of Justices Sanjay Kisan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy halted proceedings in the hope that the woman’s parents would accept the wedding and resume social interaction with the couple. “Alienating the kid and son-in-law under the guise of caste and community will hardly be a desirable social exercise,” the seven-page verdict stated. Justice Kaul and Roy also stated that the younger generation is making the choice to settle with their life partners on their own, unlike the previous generations, where societal and caste, community differences played a major role in determining whom to marry. “Perhaps this is often the way forward, where caste and community tensions are reduced by such intermarriage, but within the meantime, these youngsters face threats from the elders,” the judgment stated.
The Supreme Court stated that a program to coach cops was urgently needed to accommodate such cases. Pulling up the local police, the court stated that its intervention wouldn’t have been necessary had the case’s investigating officer conducted himself more responsibly in closing the complaint. “If he really wanted to record the statement of petitioner No.1, he should have informed them that he would visit her and recorded the statement rather than putting her under threat of action against petitioner No.2 to return to the police office,” the court added.
“The police authorities mustn’t only counsel the present Investigating Officers, but also devise a training program for managing such cases for the advantage of all police personnel. We anticipate that the police authorities will take action during this regard within the following eight weeks to ascertain some guidelines and training programs on the way to handle such socially sensitive cases,” it added while dismissing the case. The court noted in its decision that educated adults were choosing their spouses, which differed from previous societal norms during which caste and community played a major role.