NEW DELHI: The Supreme court on Friday (February 12) said that when two adults agree to marry each other, the consent of the family or community or clan is not necessary. 

A bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that the right to marry or marriage of your choice is not adversely affected by the concept of “class honours” or “group thinking”. The court also said that the police officers will prepare guidelines and training programmes to handle ‘socially sensitive cases’.

The case started after the girl’s father lodged a ‘ complaint of missing persons ‘ because she married a person without assigning them at home. Even after knowing about her whereabouts and the fact that she got married, the investigating officer asserted that the girl should appear before the Murrod police station to file a statement so that the case could be closed. 

Following this complaint, the couple approached the Supreme Court, alleging that the investigating officer (IO) was asking the girl to come back to her home town in Karnataka otherwise the police will contact her family and ask them to register a case of kidnapping against her husband.

The bench said, criticising the conduct of the investigating officer said, “The way forward for police officers is not only to consult the current IO, but also to have a training programme to deal with such cases for the benefit of police personnel. We expect the police officers to take action in the matter in the next eight weeks. Some guidelines and training programmes have to be laid down to handle such socially sensitive cases. “

The court further said that, “Educated young boys and girls are choosing their spouses, which is different from the earlier norms of society where caste and community played a major role. This is probably the way forward where such inter-marriages will reduce the tension of caste and community, but in the meantime, these youths face threats from elders. So, the courts have been coming forward to help these youths.”

“According to the court’s earlier judicial pronounces, it is clear that the consent of the family or community or the cabinet is not necessary when two adult individuals agree to enter into an arranged marriage. Their consent is given priority. It was observed in this context that a person’s choice is an integral part of dignity, the importance of choice to maintain his dignity. Such rights or choices cannot be eliminated because of the concept of “class respect” or “collective thinking,” the court added. 

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