22 Feb 2019 2:44 PM GMT
With the Delhi Commission for Women seeking safety and security for six runaway couples facing threats to their lives from their families and fear becoming victims of honour killings, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi government.The bench headed by Justice AK Sikri issued notices on a petition moved by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) through...
With the Delhi Commission for Women seeking safety and security for six runaway couples facing threats to their lives from their families and fear becoming victims of honour killings, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi government.
The bench headed by Justice AK Sikri issued notices on a petition moved by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) through its chairperson Swati Maliwal Jaihind on behalf of six runaway couples who have been facing "serious threats to their lives from their families and other social vigilante groups" and are in care and custody of the Commission.
The Commission also sought to know if the directives passed by the Supreme Court against honour killing in year 2018 in case titled Shakti Vahini vs Union of India, authorising local police to act against khap gatherings and to protect couples by providing them safe house, are applicable to runaway couples who seek protection in a different state/ district like in the instant case where all the six couples are from other states and landed in Delhi fearing threats from their families.
In Shakti Vahini's case, NGO Shakti Vahini had conducted a research study of honour killings in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and implementation of court directives by khap panchayats and local police.
The petition sought clarification of the Shakti Vahini judgment as in the case of six couples at present in the care and custody of DCW, the commission had sought assistance and protection to the couples from the Delhi Police but in vain.
The six couples, referred to in the petition as Respondents A – L, were rescued by the DCW in January from a lodging maintained by NGO 'Love Commando' after one of these couples complained of threat and extortion at the hands of NGO's chairman Sanjay Sachdeva, who is now under arrest.
Of the six couples, A and B married in January after coming to Delhi, while C and D also married recently after eloping as D was being forced to marry someone against her will and was kept under house arrest for almost four years and administered sleep medication and injections. Another couple referred to as E and F is facing threat to their lives as the husband (E) belongs to lower caste. A couple I and J faces threats from family and relatives as J is a Muslim while the man I is a Hindu.
The DCW, in its petition drawn by advocate Rajesh Inamdar and filed by advocate Gautam Talukdar, said following their rescue, owing to the urgency and with no support from the police, the commission housed the rescued women in a shelter home while their men have been housed in a gurdwara even as the Supreme Court last year in case titled Shakti Vahini v. Union of India directed the state machinery to consider establishing a safe house in each district headquarter for couples and such safe houses had to be placed under the supervision of the concerned District Magistrate and Superintendents of Police.
The commission said it was not an authorised agency to provide safe shelter to such couples and is rather mandated to facilitate the provision of safe house/shelter to such couples through the state while also citing lack of resources besides security and legal implications in providing long-term accommodation to these six couples.
The DCW, in its petition, implored the court to direct the Centre, the Delhi government and the Commissioner of Police to provide safe house and round-the-clock personal police protection to these six couples.
It also called for action to be taken by the court against the Centre, state as well as the Police Commissioner for deliberate non-compliance of the court's directions in Shakti Vahini.
It is to be noted that in Shakti Vahini case, the Supreme Court had passed a string of directions, including preventive, remedial and punitive measures, in case of couples (married or otherwise) facing threats or any kind of opposition from families or khaps.
The court had directed the local police to ensure against any meeting or gathering of khap panchayats taking place in the first place and removing the couple to a safe house within the same district or elsewhere.
The DCW prayed to the court to ensure that the directions passed in Shakti Vahini case are implemented in toto.
It has also suggested that the Commissioner of Police, Delhi should for all cases in future wherein such couples land up in the jurisdiction of NCT of Delhi, act immediately in accordance with the directions laid down in Shakti Vahini case.