The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, on Monday said that no one has the right to interfere between two adults who are willing to marry. The comment came in the aftermath of hearing requests to ban family killings over ‘dishonour’.
Misra said, “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.”
The Supreme Court was discussing a petition filed by an NGO, Shakti Vahini. The petition has asked the Court to put a ban on ‘khaap panchayat’ and other self-appointed village courts of several parts of India, especially Haryana, which take it upon themselves and act like a law to protect the medieval-era traditions, and ‘punish’ couples who marry against their family’s will.
A lawyer, who represented the Khaap Panchayats, said that they are against any such killings. “We are not concerned with the Khap Panchayat. We are only concerned with the rights of a couple to get married. Whether marriage is good or bad or is it advisable, we are out of it,” said the lawyer.
The lawyer also said, “Khap panchayats encourage inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. Marriages between sapindas are opposed because they are considered siblings,” to which Misra questioned, “Law will take its own course. Who are you to interfere?”
The lawyer replied saying we are conscience keepers, to which the CJI replied, “Don’t be conscience keepers. If two adults want to get married nobody should interfere.”
The Supreme Court hearing comes after 23-year-old Ankit Saxena was murdered by the family members of his girlfriend in West Delhi last week, apparently on the remarks that Saxena was Hindu and his girlfriend was Muslim, and that they were in love and wished to marry.
The issue of Ankit Saxena’s murder was raised in front of Misra but he denied to get into the case. “Do not get into it. That case is not before us,” he said.
Ankit Saxena was a photographer living in the Khayala area of Vishnu Garden in West Delhi. Saxena was attacked and stabbed to death on a busy road near his home.