Those couples fearing for their lives because of inter-caste marriages must inform the marriage officer about the same. They should inform the officer about the threat to their lives so that the police could be intimated about the same, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is hearing a long-pending petition that sought protection to couples from relatives and khaps. Several cases of honour killing had been reported due to inter-caste, inter-faith or inter-gothra marriages, following which the petition was filed.
The court while reserving its verdict in the matter reiterated that when two consenting adults get married, no relative or assembly can oppose it through threats and violence.
On the last date of hearing, the court had said that an adult boy or girl can get into marriages of their choice and no panchayat, khap, individual, parents or society can question it. The court said that no panchayat or khap can summon an adult boy or girl for a marriage alliance of their choice and punish them. The amicus curiae in the case, Ramachandran said that the law commission had recommended enacting a law to protect couples going in for inter-caste marriages.
The Centre represented by additional solicitor general Pinky Anand said that the states must provide police protection to couples who fear for their lives because of inter-faith, inter-caste or inter-gotra marriages.
She further said that those couples who fear for their lives from relatives or khaps must inform the marriage officer at the time of registering their marriages. The officer, in turn, could intimate the police to give protection to the couples, she further said.
The Centre also said that threats to any two adults married out of their own choice should be dealt with a law and order issue. Law and order squarely fall under the domain of the state government, the Centre also said.