NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, echoing B.R. Ambedkar’s views that remedy for breaking caste is inter-marriage, said boys and girls choosing their life partners cannot succumb to the concept of class honour or group thinking.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy observed: “Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn is a departure from the earlier norms of society where caste and community played a major role.”
Stressing it as a progressive outlook, the bench said this may reduce caste and community tensions brought out by inter-marriage.
The bench said: “We are fortified in our view by earlier judicial pronouncements of this Court clearly elucidating that the consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given primacy.”
The bench noted that intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable and even matters of faith would have the least effect on them. “The right to marry a person of choice was held to be integral to Article 21 of the Constitution,” said the top court.
A missing person complaint was lodged in Karnataka by the father of a girl after she eloped and married a person, based in north India, without informing him. The investigating officer after learning about their marriage insisted that the girl should appear in person at a police station to record a statement to close the case, and if she fails, then there is a possibility of kidnapping case against her husband.
Faced with these dire consequences, the couple moved the Supreme Court, which criticized the police officer’s conduct putting the girl under threat of action.
The top court said the choice of an individual is an inextricable part of dignity, for dignity cannot be thought of where there is erosion of choice.
“Such a right or choice is not is not expected to succumb to the concept of ‘class honour’ or ‘group thinking’,” said the top court.
Quashing the FIR lodged by the girl’s father, the bench said it expects the police authorities to take action in this behalf in the next eight weeks to lay down some guidelines and training programmes on how to handle such socially sensitive cases.
The bench emphasized that girl’s family should accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction with the couple. “Under the garb of caste and community to alienate the child and the son-in-law will hardly be a desirable social exercise,” added the bench.
Concluding the order, the bench cited B.R. Ambedkar: “Where society is cut asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking caste is inter-marriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of caste.”