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AALI - Association For Advocacy and Legal Initiatives

Shaheen Parveen and Ors. vs. State of U.P. and Ors.

Shaheen Parveen left her parents’ home with Mohd. Sarfaraj a few months before turning 18. They got married soon after. Shaheen’s mother initiated a successful criminal proceeding claiming Mohd Sarfaraj had abducted her daughter and forced her into marriage. The couple filed this petition seeking to quash the criminal proceedings, as their marriage was consensual and there was no evidence of coercion. The Court ruled in favor of the couple and quashed the criminal proceedings against Sarfaraj.

A girl who has attained the age of discretion and was on the verge of attaining majority and is capable of knowing what was good and what was bad for her, cannot be said to be a victim of inducement. … In such circumstances, desire of the girl/victim is required to be seen.

Paragraph 23Shaheen Parveen and Ors. vs. State of U.P. and Ors.2015(7)ADJ713

[T]he Court is convinced that the impugned proceedings have been initiated in abuse of process of the Court and process of the law. A personal grudge against marriage of choice of the daughter is being settled by virtue of initiating impugned criminal proceedings, which would not be permissible in law. Such prosecution would abrogate constitutional right vested in the petitioners to get married as per their discretion.

Paragraph 28Shaheen Parveen and Ors. vs. State of U.P. and Ors.2015(7)ADJ713

Bhagwan Dass v. State (NCT) of Delhi

Appellant was infuriated with his daughter, for having ‘dishonored’ his family, since she had left her husband and was living in an incestuous relationship with her uncle. Hence he strangulated her to death. He was convicted by the trial court, judgment upheld by the High Court. All circumstantial evidence pointed to the guilt of the appellant. Statement of his mother was admitted as extra judicial confession. Court found no reason to go against the decisions of the lower courts, hence appeal was dismissed.

Full Citation: Bhagwan Dass v. State (NCT) of Delhi, (2011) 6 SCC 396

Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamil Nadu

This was a case of caste-based discrimination. The Lata Singh judgment was referred to, in relation to ‘honor’ related crimes. The court directed the administration and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts. If any such incidents happen, apart from instituting criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, the State Government has been directed to immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and SSP/SPs of the district as well as other officials concerned and charge sheet them and proceed against them departmentally if they do not (1) prevent the incident if it has not already occurred but they have knowledge of it in advance, or (2) if it has occurred, they do not promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them, as in our opinion they will be deemed to be directly or indirectly accountable in this connection.

Full Citation: Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 2011 STPL (Web) 403 SC

Lata Singh vs. State Of U.P. & Another

Lata Singh vs State Of U.P. & Another was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court provided unwavering support of a woman’s right to choice. The petitioner, Lata Singh, was a major when she left her family’s home to marry a man outside of her caste. This set off a chain of abuses, as her three brothers were against the relationship. Singh’s brothers went to the paternal home of Singh’s husband and harassed and beat up his family members, destroyed their crops, and took forcible possession of their shop. The brothers proceeded to lodge a false police report alleging Singh had been abducted, for which three of Singh’s in-laws were arrested. Singh filed this successful petition to have their charges dropped. The judge further directed that criminal proceedings should commence against Singh’s brothers.

We sometimes hear of “honour” killings of such persons who undergo inter-caste or inter-religious marriage of their own free will. There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. Only in this way can we stamp out such acts of barbarism.

Paragraph 17Lata Singh vs. State Of U.P. & Another(2006) 5 SCC 475

The caste system is a curse on the nation and the sooner it is destroyed the better. In fact, it is dividing the nation at a time when we have to be united to face the challenges before the nation unitedly. Hence, inter-case marriages are in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system. However, disturbing news are coming from several parts of the country that young men and women who undergo inter-caste marriage, are threatened with violence, or violence is actually committed on them. In our opinion, such acts of violence or threats or harassment are wholly illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished. This is a free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes.

Paragraph 16Lata Singh vs. State Of U.P. & Another(2006) 5 SCC 475