Consent of family, society or community is not necessary if two adult individuals agree to marry each other: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has observed that community or family consent is not necessary once two adults agree to enter into wedlock. The Bench further observed that such a choice or right to marry is not expected to succumb to the concept of group thinking or class honour.

Hon’ble Court also stated that police authorities should formulate guidelines and training programmes on handling such socially sensitive cases.

Background:

Father of a girl lodged a missing person complaint after his daughter eloped and married a man without informing him. Even after knowing the facts of the case and factum of marriage, the Investigating Officer insisted that the girl should appear before him at the Murgod Police Station to record her statement so that the case can be closed.

Aggrieved, the couple approached the Supreme Court and stated that the IO is telling the girl to come back to Karnataka or register a case against her husband at the behest of the girl’s family members.

Observations of the Court

The Bench observed that the Investigating Officer should be sent for counselling to manage such sensitive cases.

According to the Bench, police authorities should develop a training program to help police officers understand how to deal with such cases. It should be done within eight weeks of the passing of this instant order.

The Bench further observed that nowadays, youngsters are choosing their life partners. In contrast, earlier, the elders used to do the same, and that caste and community played a significant role in marriage. However, young couples face threats from elders and courts come to their rescue.

According to the Court, when two adults want to marry each other, no one else can pressure them and infringe their rights.

The Court referred to Shafin Jahin vs Asokan KM & Ors and Justice KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India. It stated that society was going through a crucial transformational period to marry as per choice has been recognised as an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution. 

Observing thus, the Court proceeded to quash the FIR and stated that they hope that the girl’s parents would accept the marriage and establish contact not only with the girl but also with her husband.

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