New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to annul a 26-year-old woman's marriage only on the ground that it was performed without her consent, but allowed her to stay away from her husband and his family.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud passed this order after the Bengaluru-based woman, who appeared in the court informed that she was not willing to go with her husband or to his family as the marriage was performed without her consent. She also told the court that she wanted to go back to Bengaluru to take up a job.
The bench after hearing senior counsel Indira Jaising for the woman, whose name was withheld by the court, and senior counsel Basavaraj Patil for the husband’s family recorded an undertaking that all her certificates and documents in the possession of husband would be returned to the woman’s counsel.
The Karnataka police was also asked to accompany her to Bengaluru from Delhi where she is now under the care of Delhi Commission for Women.
Observing that it is only a voidable marriage, the court while refusing to annul the marriage said it would be open to the woman to file appropriate petition before the competent court in Karnataka to seek her remedy.
The court was informed that the woman’s marriage was performed in Gulbarga in Karnataka on March 14, 2018 without her consent in a politician’s family. As she refused to live with her husband, she faced threat to her life from her family and she had come down to Delhi and was staying in the custody of Delhi Commission for Women.
In her petition the woman pointed out that even prior to the marriage, both the bridegroom and her family were informed that she was not consenting to the marriage.
On the date of marriage, she sent a ‘SMS’ to the Additional Superintendent of Police seeking his intervention. Though the police came she was threatened by the family not to oppose the marriage. She came out of the matrimonial home within three days of marriage and had taken shelter in Delhi.
The petitioner said her fundamental right to choose her life partner, has been brazenly trampled by her family members, who in connivance with each other have coerced, threatened, blackmailed, harassed, pressurized, abused, compelled and tricked her into getting married to respondent no. 6 (name withheld), against her wishes and free consent.
The petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of Sections 5 (ii) and 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in as much as ‘’valid consent’ is absent and the same are in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, arbitrary and discriminatory in nature.
The petitioner has escaped from the clutches of her abusive family in Karnataka and has reached Delhi. She sought a direction to concerned authorities to provide her adequate security in order to safeguard her life, liberty and limb which is under threat from her own family members who are politically active in Karnataka, whose conduct is indicative of resulting in the ghastly act of ‘honour killing’ as she wanted to get married to a person outside her caste....