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'Police not to harass couples going for inter-caste marriage'

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Jul 8: The Supreme Court has directed the administration and police throughout the country not to harass or subject to threats or acts of violence those who marry outside their caste or religion.

The court, taking serious note of harrasment and torture of couples going in for inter-caste or inter-religious marriage, also directed that stern action must be taken in accordance with law against the persons responsible for such harrasment and torture.

The court also condemned the 'honour killings' of such persons who go for these kind of marriages, as barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment.

Describing the caste system as a curse to the nation, a bench comprising Mr Justice Ashok Bhan and Mr Justice Markandey Kattju vide judgement dated July 7 have quashed the criminal proceedings pending in fast track court V in Lucknow against the family members of petitioner Lata Singh's husband, including his two sisters, brother-in-law and a cousin on the charges of kidnapping.

The court also directed the police to institute appropriate criminal proceedings against Lata Singh's three brothers and others invovled in the harrasment and torture of her husband's family.

Justice Katju, writing the ten-page judgment said, "We are of the opinion that no offence was committed by any of the accused and the whole criminal case, in question is an abuse of the process of the court as well as the administrative machinery at the instance of the petitioner's brothers, who were only furious because the petitioner married outside her caste. ''We are distressed to note that instead of taking action against the petitioner's brothers for their highhandedness and unlawful acts( details of which have been given above) the police has instead proceeded against the petitioner's husband and his relatives.'' The court further observed, "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. Hence inter-caste 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 or threats or harassment are wholly illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished.'' Lata Singh, 27, got married to one Brahama Nand Gupta who has a business in Delhi.

The couple got married on November 2,2000 and Lata's brothers lodged a missing report at P S Sarojini Nagar, Lucknow and consequently police arrested two sisters of her husband namely Mamta Gupta and Sangita Gupta. Rakesh Gupta, husband of Mamta Gupta and the husband's cousin Kallu Gupta were also arrested.


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