In this article, Sirmaur Sudhakar from KIIT  School Of Law “What are the false charges that are usually put against couples who elope and do Love Marriage without their family’s consent?”

Introduction

Couple Elope :In the recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the elopement of the couples in India. It has been seen that even after the couple runaway, still they are subjected to harassment by their family  members or others. This Article will be discussing the reason why the couples elope, problems arising out of the marriage without family consent, why the parents do not want their children to marry without  their consent, the false charges framed by the parents and/or family members. The closing lines of the Article will be discussing the steps that the Government or Judicial bodies have taken up to protect the  couples; things that these couple should really be aware of .

First  and the  foremost thing  that needs to be  discussed is the reason behind a couple’s elopement:

There  are situations where a girl gets pregnant before the marriage and the boy and girl decide to marry each other and they are afraid of their family that they would not accept.

The  lust for  the dowry by  the boy’s family  and pressurizing the  girl’s family usually becomes and obstruction to the marriage but the couples decide to marry knowing the fact that their family would not allow them, so they run away.

It  has been  often seen  that many couples stay  together in a live-in relationship without letting  their families know about it and later on marry  after seeing that they are comfortable with each other.

The  concept  of arranged marriage  is fading now-a-days because of the  reason that the person to whom one is getting married to, does not know about him/her. People are more inclined towards love marriage and if love marriage is agreeable to their family then it’s fine and if not then they feel better to run away.

Inter-caste, inter-religion  marriages are increasing in the society and the couples do not want to get any problem so they elope to avoid religious and cultural clashes.

There  may be  stress within  one of the families and  the bride and the groom feel that avoiding a large family gathering is the safer option to avoid any debate on their special day.

Changing religion to marry someone and the family is not happy about it, as a result they runaway.

  Sometimes extra-marital affairs also lead to the eloping.

What problems arise because of the marriage of couples without the family consent?

Falling  in love can be a risky undertaking in India’s towns and villages where caste and tradition   maintain tremendous power. Families and village councils do not allow marriages within the  same village and clan or outside the caste and community. Killing transgressing couples to save the family’s  ‘honour‘ is not uncommon in Haryana and Punjab. There are no government stats over such killings.

As reported  in the Hindustan Times,  “According  to Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, an  international digital resource centre working to advance understanding of honour-based violence and forced marriage, around 1000 honour killings occur in India every year”.

Also, the villagers boycott the families of couples. Because of this, the families are compelled to leave the place and shift to another place.

If the couple goes to a police officer for help then they simply ask to call up their parents and, hands them over. They in spite of protecting them, push them to trauma. The Police officers have got totally mixed with the society and think it to be true.

Why do the Parents not allow their children to marry without their consent?

The parents think that it is their right and responsibility to look after their child in every situation of their life even if they are getting married. In India, parents treat their children as a small child even if they have become matured enough to take their decisions.

The  families  believe that  marrying in the  same caste to people  belonging to the same village are taboo because of a relationship of brotherhood”.

The  parents  think that  this would result  in the downfall of the  name and fame of the family.

  They have a fear that the marital relationship of their children would not last longer.

A family belonging to a high caste would never let a member belonging to inferior class become his/her family member. The same is with the religion too.

The  main thing about  which the parents are concerned more than the happiness of their children  is the society, “what society will say, we won’t be able to show our faces to anyone”.

What  are the  false charges  that are usually  put against couples who elope or marry without family’s consent?

An educated family does not take such steps, they either accept the marriage or leave the couple to  live their life freely without any interference from their side. But their are certain areas in India where the false charges are being framed. Most of these type of cases are seen in the state of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh.

From Girl’s family side

The  charge under  Section 366 of IPC–  It is a very primary charge framed by the girl’s family side. Section 366 has been defined as follows:-

Whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be  likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or  knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse and whoever by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code or of abuse of authority or any method of compulsion, induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person.

The section 366 makes it clear that there has to be kidnapping or abduction of a woman and the intention on the part of the offender must be to compel her to marry any person against her will or  to force or seduce her to illicit intercourse. If there is no such intention then there has to be knowledge on the part of the offender that the victim will be compelled to marry any person against her will or that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse.

A charge relating to rape is often framed by the girl family members just to bring the boy to the judicial custody and harass him and his family members.

In  certain cases,  it has been seen that the parents misrepresent the age of their daughter just to strengthen the charges framed against the boy and/or his family members.

Also, it  is often seen  that the family members of the girl are engaged in honor killings, and  instead of admitting to that, they choose to frame the boy for  it, in the name of murder.

For instance, If the boy is a divorced, then in that situation the family members of the girl being aware of this still file a false charge of bigamy.

All  the false charges  framed are mainly done for harassing the boy and/or his family members and,  to bring back the girl to the father and mother. They believe that this will bring back the right to them to choose a better boy for their daughter.

From Boy’s family side

False charge of kidnapping by the girl’s family is reported. Allegations are made relating to forceful marriage, compulsion, wrongful confinement by the girl’s family.

The same form of false charge of murder goes from the boy’s family side although, being an honour killing.

Apart  from the above mentioned  a charge relating to theft is also framed by the parents/family members. They say that the boy/girl has taken all the jewellery and ran away. The charge may be true or false.

What  are the  steps that  Government and  Judicial bodies have taken to curb the problems relating to such marriages?

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh to  not register FIR on charges of Abduction against the couple who have married without their family consent.

Directed the Police  officers of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh not to harass the couples who were in love or had got married in such circumstances.

Justice Ranjit Singh remarked that in the cases where the age of the girl is less than 18 years then the marriage is not void, it is voidable at the option of the girl.

If  the girl  does not agrees  to go with her parent then  in that case she will be shifted  to “Nari

Niketan” or other shelter homes.

In case the girl is a major(more than 18 year), then she cannot be forcibly taken away by police to be handed over to her parents against her consent, also criminal force against the boy cannot be used.

In  the case of  Lata Singh vs. State  of U.P & Ors. (2006) 5 SCC 475 where the woman named Lata belonging to high-caste, married a man from a dalit community, the Court quashed all the cases against her husband and his family, also instructed that criminal proceedings be instituted against  any one who issued threats or committed acts of violence against such couples. They

 

stated that their is nothing honourable in honour killings, it is nothing but barbaric and shameful murder.

In Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamilnadu(2011) 6 SCC 405, the Supreme Court said that they have  heard of Khaap panchayat(known as “katta Panchayats” in Tamil Nadu) which often encourage  honour killings or other atrocities in an institutionalised way on boys and girls of different castes and religion, who wish to get married or have been married, or interfere with the personal lives  of the people. They expressed this as totally illegal and to be ruthlessly stamped out. The atrocities committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons deserve harsh punishment. This is the only way to eradicate such acts of  barbarism and feudal mentality. The SC directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts.

In  the 242nd  report of the  Law Commission of  India on Prevention  of Interference with the  Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances,  they suggested that:

In   order  to keep  a check on  the high-handed  and unwarranted interference  by the caste assemblies or panchayats  with sagotra, inter-caste or inter-religious  marriages, which are otherwise lawful, this legislation has  been proposed so as to prevent the acts endangering the liberty  of the couple married or intending to marry and their family members. It is considered necessary  that there should be a strict action against the congregation or assembly for the purpose of disapproving such marriage / intended marriage and the conduct of the young couple. The members gathering for such purpose, i.e., for condemning the marriage with a view to take necessary consequential action, are to be treated as members of the unlawful assembly for which a mandatory minimum punishment has been prescribed.

The reason behind the proposing of this legislation is to prevent the acts that endanger the liberty of  the couple who are married or are intending to marry and also their family members.

A mandatory  minimum sentence has  been prescribed for the acts of  criminal intimidation by the members  of unlawful assembly or the others  who act at their instance. The section 6  of the proposed bill provides a presumption that a person participating in an unlawful assembly shall be presumed to have also intended to commit or abet the commission of offenses.

The  Sub-Divisional/District  Magistrate have been provided  power to prohibit the unlawful assemblies and to take preventive measures. Furthermore, an SDM/DM is enjoined to receive a request  or information from any person seeking protection from the assembly of persons or members of any family who are likely to or who have been objecting to the lawful marriage.

The  provisions  of this proposed Bill does not impair the provisions of Indian Penal Code. Care has been taken,  as far as possible, to see that there is no overlapping with the provisions of the general penal law. In other words, the criminal acts other than those specifically falling under the proposed Bill are punishable under the general penal law.

The offenses are cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable and will be tried by the Court of Session.

Accordingly, the Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances Bill 20 has been prepared in order to effectively check the existing social malady.

Conclusion

Lawyers in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court receives as many as 50 applications per day from couples seeking state protection, anticipatory bail or restriction orders against their parents  and other relatives; they fear for their lives for having defied their families and community.

It is a fundamental right of a person guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, Article 21 to have the freedom of life and liberty but still, the couples are harassed by their families by implicating false charges or are subjected to honour killing.

The  same ‘gotra’  marriage is not an offence  or prohibited under the law.  To clarify the doubt with regard  to these marriage, the Hindu Marriage Disablities Removal Act, 1946 was enacted. This Act validates the same ‘gotra’ or ‘pravara’ or different sub-division of same caste marriage between the Hindus.

The sagotra or Inter caste marriage has not been prohibited by the Hindu Marriage Act also. Therefore,  the best solution to this problem would be educating more and more families about the changing pattern   of living and also create awareness among the people about the consequences of the filing of false cases. Also, counseling of the parents should be done.

According  to a report of  tribuneindia, Protection homes  were set up in the year 2010 in each district  of Haryana on the High Court’s order that also covered Punjab and Chandigarh for the runaway couples. The number of such couples in the protection homes was just 366 in 2010 and later in 2013 it rose to 1,221.

Official  data examined  by The Indian Express  show that 1,465 such couples were  housed in protection homes in Haryana in 2014.

References:-

supremecourtofIndia.nic.in

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Tribuneindia.com

The Indian Express

THE  PROHIBITION  OF INTERFERENCE  WITH THE FREEDOM  OF MATRIMONIAL ALLIANCES  BILL, 2015

 

In this article, Sirmaur Sudhakar from KIIT  School Of Law “What are the false charges that are usually put against couples who elope and do Love Marriage without their family’s consent?”

Introduction

Couple Elope :In the recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the elopement of the couples in India. It has been seen that even after the couple runaway, still they are subjected to harassment by their family  members or others. This Article will be discussing the reason why the couples elope, problems arising out of the marriage without family consent, why the parents do not want their children to marry without  their consent, the false charges framed by the parents and/or family members. The closing lines of the Article will be discussing the steps that the Government or Judicial bodies have taken up to protect the  couples; things that these couple should really be aware of .

First  and the  foremost thing  that needs to be  discussed is the reason behind a couple’s elopement:

There  are situations  where a girl gets pregnant before the marriage and the boy and girl decide to marry each other and they are afraid of their family that they would not accept.

The  lust for  the dowry by  the boy’s family and pressurizing the  girl’s family usually becomes and obstruction to the marriage but the couples decide to marry knowing the fact that their family would not allow them, so they run away.

It  has been  often seen  that many couples stay  together in a live-in relationship without letting  their families know about it and later on marry  after seeing that they are comfortable with each other.

The  concept  of arranged marriage  is fading now-a-days because of the  reason that the person to whom one is getting married to, does not know about him/her. People are more inclined towards love marriage and if love marriage is agreeable to their family then it’s fine and if not then they feel better to run away.

Inter-caste, inter-religion  marriages are increasing in the society and the couples do not want to get any problem so they elope to avoid religious and cultural clashes.

There  may be  stress within  one of the families and  the bride and the groom feel that avoiding a large family gathering is the safer option to avoid any debate on their special day.

Changing religion to marry someone and the family is not happy about it, as a result they runaway.

  Sometimes extra-marital affairs also lead to the eloping.

What problems arise because of the marriage of couples without the family consent?

Falling  in love can be a risky undertaking in India’s towns and villages where caste and tradition   maintain tremendous power. Families and village councils do not allow marriages within the  same village and clan or outside the caste and community. Killing transgressing couples to save the family’s  ‘honour‘ is not uncommon in Haryana and Punjab. There are no government stats over such killings.

As reported  in the Hindustan Times,  “According  to Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, an  international digital resource centre working to advance understanding of honour-based violence and forced marriage, around 1000 honour killings occur in India every year”.

Also, the villagers boycott the families of couples. Because of this, the families are compelled to leave the place and shift to another place.

If the couple goes to a police officer for help then they simply ask to call up their parents and, hands them over. They in spite of protecting them, push them to trauma. The Police officers have got totally mixed with the society and think it to be true.

Why do the Parents not allow their children to marry without their consent?

The parents think that it is their right and responsibility to look after their child in every situation of their life even if they are getting married. In India, parents treat their children as a small child even if they have become matured enough to take their decisions.

The  families  believe that  marrying in the  same caste to people  belonging to the same village are taboo because of a relationship of brotherhood”.

The  parents  think that  this would result  in the downfall of the  name and fame of the family.

  They have a fear that the marital relationship of their children would not last longer.

A family belonging to a high caste would never let a member belonging to inferior class become his/her family member. The same is with the religion too.

The  main thing about  which the parents are concerned more than the happiness of their children  is the society, “what society will say, we won’t be able to show our faces to anyone”.

What  are the  false charges  that are usually  put against couples who elope or marry without family’s consent?

An educated family does not take such steps, they either accept the marriage or leave the couple to  live their life freely without any interference from their side. But their are certain areas in India where the false charges are being framed. Most of these type of cases are seen in the state of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh.

From Girl’s family side

The  charge under  Section 366 of IPC–  It is a very primary charge framed by the girl’s family side. Section 366 has been defined as follows:-

Whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be  likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or  knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse and whoever by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code or of abuse of authority or any method of compulsion, induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person.

The section 366 makes it clear that there has to be kidnapping or abduction of a woman and the intention on the part of the offender must be to compel her to marry any person against her will or  to force or seduce her to illicit intercourse. If there is no such intention then there has to be knowledge on the part of the offender that the victim will be compelled to marry any person against her will or that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse.

A charge relating to rape is often framed by the girl family members just to bring the boy to the judicial custody and harass him and his family members.

In  certain cases,  it has been seen that the parents misrepresent the age of their daughter just to strengthen the charges framed against the boy and/or his family members.

Also, it  is often seen  that the family members of the girl are engaged in honor killings, and  instead of admitting to that, they choose to frame the boy for  it, in the name of murder.

For instance, If the boy is a divorced, then in that situation the family members of the girl being aware of this still file a false charge of bigamy.

All  the false charges  framed are mainly done for harassing the boy and/or his family members and,  to bring back the girl to the father and mother. They believe that this will bring back the right to them to choose a better boy for their daughter.

From Boy’s family side

False charge of kidnapping by the girl’s family is reported. Allegations are made relating to forceful marriage, compulsion, wrongful confinement by the girl’s family.

The same form of false charge of murder goes from the boy’s family side although, being an honour killing.

Apart  from the above mentioned  a charge relating to theft is also framed by the parents/family members. They say that the boy/girl has taken all the jewellery and ran away. The charge may be true or false.

What  are the  steps that  Government and  Judicial bodies have taken to curb the problems relating to such marriages?

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh to  not register FIR on charges of Abduction against the couple who have married without their family consent.

Directed the Police  officers of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh not to harass the couples who were in love or had got married in such circumstances.

Justice Ranjit Singh remarked that in the cases where the age of the girl is less than 18 years then the marriage is not void, it is voidable at the option of the girl.

If  the girl  does not agrees  to go with her parent then  in that case she will be shifted  to “Nari

Niketan” or other shelter homes.

In case the girl is a major(more than 18 year), then she cannot be forcibly taken away by police to be handed over to her parents against her consent, also criminal force against the boy cannot be used.

In  the case of  Lata Singh vs. State  of U.P & Ors. (2006) 5 SCC 475 where the woman named Lata belonging to high-caste, married a man from a dalit community, the Court quashed all the cases against her husband and his family, also instructed that criminal proceedings be instituted against  any one who issued threats or committed acts of violence against such couples. They

 

stated that their is nothing honourable in honour killings, it is nothing but barbaric and shameful murder.

In Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamilnadu(2011) 6 SCC 405, the Supreme Court said that they have  heard of Khaap panchayat(known as “katta Panchayats” in Tamil Nadu) which often encourage  honour killings or other atrocities in an institutionalised way on boys and girls of different castes and religion, who wish to get married or have been married, or interfere with the personal lives  of the people. They expressed this as totally illegal and to be ruthlessly stamped out. The atrocities committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons deserve harsh punishment. This is the only way to eradicate such acts of  barbarism and feudal mentality. The SC directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts.

In  the 242nd  report of the  Law Commission of  India on Prevention  of Interference with the  Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances,  they suggested that:

In   order  to keep  a check on  the high-handed  and unwarranted interference  by the caste assemblies or panchayats  with sagotra, inter-caste or inter-religious  marriages, which are otherwise lawful, this legislation has  been proposed so as to prevent the acts endangering the liberty  of the couple married or intending to marry and their family members. It is considered necessary  that there should be a strict action against the congregation or assembly for the purpose of disapproving such marriage / intended marriage and the conduct of the young couple. The members gathering for such purpose, i.e., for condemning the marriage with a view to take necessary consequential action, are to be treated as members of the unlawful assembly for which a mandatory minimum punishment has been prescribed.

The reason behind the proposing of this legislation is to prevent the acts that endanger the liberty of  the couple who are married or are intending to marry and also their family members.

A mandatory  minimum sentence has  been prescribed for the acts of  criminal intimidation by the members  of unlawful assembly or the others  who act at their instance. The section 6  of the proposed bill provides a presumption that a person participating in an unlawful assembly shall be presumed to have also intended to commit or abet the commission of offenses.

The  Sub-Divisional/District  Magistrate have been provided  power to prohibit the unlawful assemblies and to take preventive measures. Furthermore, an SDM/DM is enjoined to receive a request  or information from any person seeking protection from the assembly of persons or members of any family who are likely to or who have been objecting to the lawful marriage.

The  provisions  of this proposed Bill does not impair the provisions of Indian Penal Code. Care has been taken,  as far as possible, to see that there is no overlapping with the provisions of the general penal law. In other words, the criminal acts other than those specifically falling under the proposed Bill are punishable under the general penal law.

The offenses are cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable and will be tried by the Court of Session.

Accordingly, the Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances Bill 20 has been prepared in order to effectively check the existing social malady.

Conclusion

Lawyers in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court receives as many as 50 applications per day from couples seeking state protection, anticipatory bail or restriction orders against their parents  and other relatives; they fear for their lives for having defied their families and community.

It is a fundamental right of a person guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, Article 21 to have the freedom of life and liberty but still, the couples are harassed by their families by implicating false charges or are subjected to honour killing.

The  same ‘gotra’  marriage is not an offence  or prohibited under the law.  To clarify the doubt with regard  to these marriage, the Hindu Marriage Disablities Removal Act, 1946 was enacted. This Act validates the same ‘gotra’ or ‘pravara’ or different sub-division of same caste marriage between the Hindus.

The sagotra or Inter caste marriage has not been prohibited by the Hindu Marriage Act also. Therefore,  the best solution to this problem would be educating more and more families about the changing pattern   of living and also create awareness among the people about the consequences of the filing of false cases. Also, counseling of the parents should be done.

According  to a report of  tribuneindia, Protection homes  were set up in the year 2010 in each district  of Haryana on the High Court’s order that also covered Punjab and Chandigarh for the runaway couples. The number of such couples in the protection homes was just 366 in 2010 and later in 2013 it rose to 1,221.

Official  data examined  by The Indian Express  show that 1,465 such couples were  housed in protection homes in Haryana in 2014.

References:-

supremecourtofIndia.nic.in

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Tribuneindia.com

The Indian Express

THE  PROHIBITION  OF INTERFERENCE  WITH THE FREEDOM  OF MATRIMONIAL ALLIANCES  BILL, 2015