28 March 2022 4:37 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court recently granted police protection to an inter-caste couple, while stating that any attempt on the part of any person to have the law in their hands shall be sternly dealt with by the police.The Bench comprising Justice Mauna Bhatt took note of the fact that the woman, detained by her family, was petrified by the strong reactions of her family and had consequently filed...
The Gujarat High Court recently granted police protection to an inter-caste couple, while stating that any attempt on the part of any person to have the law in their hands shall be sternly dealt with by the police.
The Bench comprising Justice Mauna Bhatt took note of the fact that the woman, detained by her family, was petrified by the strong reactions of her family and had consequently filed an affidavit claiming that she was abducted by the Applicant-husband with false promises and that she wished to be with her family to upkeep their dignity and honour. However, before the Court, her version was completely different than what she has stated in her affidavit-in-reply.
The Court noted that she was scared and apprehensive of the strong reactions of the family and that had dithered her from telling the truth.
The parents of the Corpus contested that she had known the contents of the affidavit and had signed it as a graduate of 25 years of age. Per contra, the Bench observed.
"she is completely petrified and does not have any courage to resist her family, more particularly, the father and the brother who accompanied her."
The Bench went on to appreciate that she did not truly disclose her mind to the family until she was before the Court where she could join her husband.
Further stating that the Court had met the caste leader who had assured the Bench that no untoward incident was likely to happen, the Court directed protection to the couple for four weeks. Reliance was placed on Laxmibhai Chandaragi B. and Anr. v. State of Karnataka and Ors. (2021) 3 SCC 360 wherein the right to marry a person of one's choice was considered an integral part of Art 21 It was opined:
"Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn is a departure from the earlier norms of society where caste and community play a major role. Possibly, this is the way forward where caste and community tensions will reduce by such inter marriage but in the meantime these youngsters face threats from the elders and the Courts have been coming to the aid of these youngsters."
The Court also relied on Shakti Vahini vs. Union of India and Ors. (2018) 7 SCC 192 to warn that 'khap panchayats' or other assemblies should not take law into their hands and cannot assume the character of the law implementing agencies.
The Bench thereafter ventured on to discuss the 'viciousness of honour crimes' in the country and the 'catastrophic effect of such kind of crimes on the society.' While discussing this social evil, the Bench placed reliance on the NCRB data wherein as many as 288 cases of honour killing were reported between 2014 and 2016. Further, reference was made to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence wherein Article 42 stated:
"Unacceptable justifications for crimes, including crimes committed in the name of so-called "honour"."
Cautioning that "any attempt on the part of any person to have the law in their hands shall be sternly dealt with by the police," the High Court directed the parents of the Corpus to grant her basic belongings, testimonies and degree certificates to her. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
Case Title: Thakor Devrajbhai Ramanbhai vs State Of Gujarat Thakor Devrajbhai Ramanbhai vs State Of Gujarat
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