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