Ancient Society Valued Freedom And Equality, Now People Are Influenced By Orthodox Phenomena: Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Order]

Ancient Society Valued Freedom And Equality, Now People Are Influenced By Orthodox Phenomena: Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Order]

"After a lapse of 68 years since after coming into force of the Constitution of India, the citizens, especially in the ruralities, are under the influence of orthodox phenomena and believe in the traditional societies."

The social values in ancient society had propounded freedom, liberty and equality but the shackles of millennium long slavery made the society complexened one and it resulted into the darkest aspect of casteism, remarked Justice Raj Shekhar Attri of Punjab and Haryana High Court while disposing of some petitions seeking police protection.

In one such case, a girl had approached the high court seeking police protection from possible attacks by relatives, who are against her marrying a boy from another caste/religion.

"To the mind of this court, the petitioners have every right to seek the protection of their life, limb and liberty… Although, both of them claim to be legally married yet the validity of their marriage is not an issue before this Court. Instead, this Court is concerned with the safety of their life, limb and liberty," the court said.

The court further observed that constitutional philosophy completely eradicates discrimination on the grounds of casts, creed, religion, domicile etc. "It has propounded the equality and freedom. But after a lapse of 68 years since after coming into force of the Constitution of India, the citizens, especially in the ruralities, are under the influence of orthodox phenomena and believe in the traditional societies. It gravely affects the doctrine of social justice and equality," the judge added.

The court also reproduced directions issued in an earlier order in Pardeep Kumar Singh versus State of Haryana.

  • Whenever any intimation is received by the SSP/SP of concerned District regarding the marriage of a young couple with a threat and an apprehension of infringement of the right of life and liberty by the police at the instance of the family members of one of the spouses, the SSP/SP concerned will consider the representation and will himself/herself look into the matter and issue necessary directions to maintain a record of the said intimation under Chapter 21 of the Punjab Police Rules.
  • On receipt of above-said intimation of marriage by any police officer, necessary directions will be issued to the concerned Police Station to take necessary steps in accordance with law to enquire into the matter by contacting the parents of both and girl. The matter regarding age, consent of the girl and grievance of her family will be determined. In the eventuality of any complaint of kidnapping or abduction having been received from any of the family members of the girl, generally the boy (husband) will not be arrested unless the prejudicial statement is given by the girl (wife). Arrest should generally be deferred or avoided on the immediate receipt of a complaint by the parents or family, members of the girl taking into consideration the law laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court in Joginder Kumar's case (supra).
  • If the girl is major (above 18 years), she should not forcibly be taken away by police to be handed over to her parents against her consent. Criminal force against the boy should also be avoided.
  • So far as the threat to a young couple of the criminal force and assault at the hands of the private persons is concerned, it would always be open to the police to initiate action if any substantive offence is found to have been committed against the couple.
  • In case of any threat to the breach of the peace at the hands of the family members of the couple, it will always be open to the state authorities to take up the security proceedings in accordance with law.
  • It will not be open to the "runaway couple" to take law in their hands pursuant to the indulgence shown by the police on the basis of their representation sent to the SSP/SP of the concerned District.
  • If despite the intimation having been sent to the SSP/SP, there is apprehension or threat of violation of the right of personal life and liberty or free movement, the remedy of approaching the high court should be the last resort.
  • In case there is an authority constituted for issuance of marriage certificate as per the law laid down by Supreme Court in Seema's case (supra) in the concerned districts, a couple of so-called 'runaway marriage' should get the marriage registered in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court and a copy of the same should also be forwarded to the police along with the representations or any time subsequent thereto.
  • Nothing said hereinabove will prevent the immediate arrest of a person who fraudulently entices a girl with false promises and exploits her sexually as per the statement of the girl.

The court finally disposed of the plea by directing the state of Haryana to examine the complaint and provide protection if it is found that there is real and genuine threat to their life, limb and liberty.

Read the Order Here