SC directed Centre to provide protection to woman, daughter of politician in Karnataka, who claimed that she was forcibly married.
New Delhi: A 26-year-old woman from Karnataka, who alleged that she was forcibly married by her parents without her consent and eventually escaped to Delhi, will be provided security cover.
The apex court issued a notice to the Centre and the Karnataka government, asking them to respond to the woman’s -- an engineer and the daughter of a politician in Karnataka -- plea urging the court to make prior consent mandatory before marriage under Hindu Marriage Act, news agency ANI reported.
Supreme Court today issued notice to Karnataka and Union of India after hearing a 26 year-old woman's plea seeking protection and direction for making prior consent of a boy & girl mandatory before marriage under Hindu Marriage Act— ANI (@ANI) April 11, 2018
Supreme Court also asked the police to give protection to the woman, the daughter of a Karnataka politician, who fled after her wedding ceremony as she did not approve of the marriage— ANI (@ANI) April 11, 2018
The woman had filed a petition in the Supreme Court in which she had alleged that she wanted to marry a man of another caste, but was threatened into marrying the man of her parents' choice in March.
She added that her fiance was informed and even he refused to marry her, but his parents forced him to tie the knot. The two got married on March 14 in Gulbarga in Karnataka.
Three weeks later, she ran away from home and soon after wrote to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) seeking the top court's intervention into striking down certain provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act on the grounds that the consent of the bride or the groom has not been made mandatory in the law.
She has been in Delhi since and is being assisted by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).
After hearing her plea on Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the Delhi police to provide protection to the woman. While the bench declined to interfere with her marriage, it said that according to the law, a marriage can be cancelled if it is forced without or fraudulent consent. The apex court will hear the case again in the first week of May.
According to the bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, it would treat this petition as a habeas corpus plea and would not deal with the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act as sought by senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was representing the aggrieved woman.
The bench observed that the Section 12 C of the Act provides for annulment of marriage if there is forced or fraudulent consent.
The court agreed with the contention that the identity of the woman and her family members, who had forced her into the marriage, be not revealed.
It directed the Superintendent of the Police concerned to serve notice on the respondents and fixed the matter for further hearing on May 5.
During the hearing, Jaising said that the woman has been forced into marriage and seeks protection.