Khaps trying to scuttle marriage between consenting adults are ‘illegal’, rules Supreme Court - watsupptoday.com
Khaps trying to scuttle marriage between consenting adults are ‘illegal’, rules Supreme Court
Posted 27 Mar 2018 01:23 PM

Agencies
Coming down heavily on khap panchayats, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said such self-appointed quasi-judicial bodies trying to scuttle marriage between two consenting adults was “absolutely illegal”. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which had told khap panchayats not to act as conscience keeper of the people in an earlier hearing, also laid down preventive, punitive and remedial measures to deal with such assemblies till a law was made.

“Any illegal assembly or khap trying to scuttle marriage between two consenting adults is absolutely illegal,” the Supreme Court said, while hearing a PIL by NGO Shakti Vahini seeking directions to the central and state governments to prevent honour crimes. The apex court also sought directions from the Centre and state governments to crackdown on such illegal assemblies.

In the hearing last month, the SC said that no third person should interfere in the choice of marriage between two adults. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said “whether the law prohibits or allows a particular marriage, the law will take its own course” but “when two people get into a wedlock, no panchayat, no one should interfere”.

A counsel appearing for the khaps said the panchayats promote inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. He also referred to provisions in Hindu marriage law which prohibit union between ‘sapinda’ relations (those between close relatives), saying that even science had proved that such marriages can lead to genetic problems in children. He submitted that khaps do not approve honour killings, adding that “custom is not above a human life”. The court said it was not concerned about khaps but only about the freedom of choice of adults in marriages.

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