SC: Inter-Caste Marriages Are A Way To Reduce Caste And Communal Conflicts

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Inter-caste marriages: The Supreme Court in its recent verdict said that inter-caste marriages will possibly reduce caste and community tensions, while noting that many youngsters are exercising their freedom to choose their partner on their own, breaking away from the traditional, and mostly regressive societal norms.

The apex court also stated that such youngsters face threats from the elders. However, the judiciary has been coming to the aid of these youngsters.

The remark came by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy. The judges disregarded an FIR lodged by the parents of a woman, who married a man of her choice against the wishes of elders, at Belgavai district of Karnataka.

Furthermore, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also quoted from B.R Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, “I am convinced that the real remedy is intermarriage. Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling—the feeling of being aliens—created by caste will not vanish.”

In the verdict, the jury also said, “We hope that the parents of the girl will have a better sense to accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction not only with her, but even with her husband.” The judges further added that parents alienating their children for upholding caste and community norms would hardly be a desirable social exercise.

About the inter-caste marriage case

The judgment was released for a case filed by a lecturer, also an MBA graduate who fled from Bengaluru to Delhi to marry a man, who was an assistant professor.

An investigating police officer directed her to leave her husband on a complaint filed by her relatives. Moreover, the officer also asked them to be present at the police station. However, the woman refused to comply, saying they were legally and willingly married.

The Supreme court has now quashed the case against the couple and directed the police authorities to not only inspect the investigating officers, but also to plan a training programme to deal with such cases for the benefit of the police personnel and the public.

“We expect the police authorities to take action on this behalf in the next eight weeks to lay down some guidelines and training programmes how to handle such socially sensitive cases,” the Supreme Court ordered.

The Hadiya Controversy

The bench referred to earlier verdicts of the top courts and said it has been held that the consent of the family, relatives or the community is not necessary if two adult individuals agree to enter into wedlock.

The Bench referred to the Hadiya case judgment in which privacy was declared a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India. “Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy,” Justice Kaul reiterated the core of the judgment.

“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 expected to succumb to the concept of ‘class honour’ or ‘group thinking’,” the Supreme Court held.

In December 2016, Hadiya, then a 24-year old girl, was in the centre of a controversy of inter-faith marriage when she converted to Islam and married Shafin Jahan. Following this, her parents approached the Kerala High Court with a complaint that the decision was forcibly done and she would be recruited to the Islamic State in Syria. In May 2017, the Kerala High Court annulled the marriage of Hadiya and Shafin, stating that she seemed mentally indoctrinated. The court also ordered her to return to live with her parents at Vaikom, Kerala. However, the Supreme Court set aside the order in March 2018 and directed Hadiya to rejoin the college to complete her studies.