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Consent of the clan doesn’t take primacy if consenting adults get married

The Supreme Court stated that marriage is a right or a choice bestowed upon two consenting adults and the consent of their family or community is immaterial.

This right or choice of marriage is not to submit to the ‘class honour’ or ‘group thinking’.

The Court directed police authorities to formulate guidelines and training programmes to handle these socially sensitive cases.

In the instant case, a girl eloped and married after which her father filed a missing person complaint with the local police.

The Investigating Officer even after tracing their whereabouts asked her to report back at the police station and if she failed in doing so, a case for kidnapping would be registered against her husband upon the insistence of her family members.

The Court in this regard observed that police officers are to adopt required tactics for counseling to deal with this kind of sensitive issue and ordered the authorities to lay down guidelines to handle these situations within the next eight weeks.

It stated that “Educated boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn, is a departure from the earlier norms of the society where caste and community play a major role.”

This change in the social dynamic is seen as a way forward by the courts from the caste and community-based tensions prevalent in the society.

If two consenting adults agree to enter wedlock then their consent is given primacy of that of their community or their clan.

Preventing a person’s right to choice can be considered as an erosion of their dignity as a direct consequence, infringing Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The court further added while quashing the FIR, suggesting the parents to accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction with their daughter and their son-in-law.

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