The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently directed the police to investigate “illegal marriages” being solemnised by fake institutions, and register FIRs against them if needed, to “send a meaningful message in the society”.
The order was issued by Justice Ramendra Jain, who opined that it was time to “curb down such menace by ordering to close down such fake and self- styled institutions which are indulged in illegal activities of solemnising marriages against the wishes of the parents of the parties and normal norms of the society.”
The Court was hearing a petition filed by a runaway couple who demanded police protection. Justice Jain however noted that the Court was now coming across several instances where false marriages were being conducted by such Pandits, Purohits and Granthis in exchange for huge sum of money, and observed,
“It has become dire necessity to take judicial note of the fact that everyday large number of protection petitions by runaway couples after solemnising their marriage against the wishes of their respective parents and family members are being filed in this Court, annexing a certificate of self- styled Pandits/Purohits/Granthis and fake institutions…
…Such Pandits/Purohits/Granthis and fake institutions are indulged in illegal activities and solemnise marriages by charging huge lump sum contractual amount without following legal procedure enshrined under the Hindu Marriage Act or any other Act under which the parties fall.”
Clamping down on the practice, the Court now directed SSP, Mohali to find out the number of illegal marriages solemnized by the Granthi who had issued the marriage certificate in the case at hand, as well as the number of letter pads of different fake institutions printed by him to issue different marriage certificates.
Giving a green signal for registration of an FIR against him if needed, the Court ordered, “Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohali, is directed to get the matter investigated as to how many illegal marriages have been got solemnised by the aforesaid Granthi in a span of one year without the consent of the parents/family members of the persons and how many letter pads of different fake self-styled institutions/trust etc. have been got printed by him to issue different marriage certificates.
If need be or found guilty, such Pandits/Purohits/Granthi be taken to task by registering FIR against them to send a meaningful message in the society.”
Thereafter, disposing of the petition, Justice Jain directed the SSP to inquire as to whether the petitioners genuinely need any protection, and do the needful.