New Delhi: Hearing a request to ban family killings over “dishonor”, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra today said when two adults marry, no one has the right to interfere.”Whether it is parents, society or anyone, they are out of it. No one, either individual or collective, or group, has the right to interfere with the marriage,” said the Chief Justice.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud had asked the Centre to give its response on suggestions earlier given by amicus curiae (friend of the court) Raju Ramachandran on ways to prevent harassment and killing of young couples in the name of family honour for marrying inter-caste or intra-clan (gotra). “Whatever the amicus curiae says about khap, we are not concerned with that. What we are concerned is that if an adult girl or boy gets into marriage, no khap, no individual or no society can question them,” the bench had said.
The bench had told the Centre that it will not give its suggestion on the suggestion given by the amicus curiae, assisting the court in the matter, and the court would contemplate passing an order based on his suggestion. “Whenever there is any kind of collective attack on a boy or girl who are adult, it is absolutely illegal,” the bench had said and had listed the matter for 5 February for further hearing.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition moved by an NGO called Shakti Vahini, which has questioned the legal validity of various honour killing orders passed by “khap panchayats”. The NGO had moved the Supreme Court in 2010, seeking directions to the central and state governments to prevent and control honour killings and other crimes.
Asking the Narendra Modi government to come up with “effective suggestions” in connection with the protection of couples over various cases of “honour killings” and other forms of persecution ordered by the “khap panchayats”, the Supreme Court asked how these self-appointed courts came up in the first place.
“Who appointed the “khap” or anyone as the guardian of law? The law shall take its own course,” CJI Misra asked. “It is completely for the courts to decide whether a marriage is tenable in law or not. The “khap panchayats” cannot decide that.”
When the lawyer representing the “khap panchayats” argued that they stand to protect “age-old traditions and are “the conscience keepers of society”, the Supreme Court said, “You are nobody to decide that. Whether the marriage is valid or not is for the courts to decide.”