SC: Free to choose life partner, approval of kin & clan not must

SC: Free to choose life partner, approval of  kin & clan not must

Supreme Court

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12

Amid controversies over inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, the Supreme Court has emphasised the autonomy of an individual in choosing his or her life partner, saying it’s integral to the dignity of the individual.

“We are fortified in our view by earlier judicial pronouncements of this court clearly elucidating that the consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given primacy,” a Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

The Bench, which also included Justice Hrishikesh Roy, quashed the FIR lodged against the petitioner woman, a college lecturer from Karnataka who married a man from Uttar Pradesh without the consent of her parents. The top court expressed hope that the parents will have “better sense” to accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction with their daughter and son-in-law.

Autonomy integral

Educated boys and girls are choosing life partners… this is way forward where caste and community tensions will reduce by such marriages. —Supreme Court Bench

“Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn, is a departure from the earlier norms of society where caste and community played a major role. Possibly, this is the way forward where caste and community tensions will reduce by such marriages. But in the meantime, these youngsters face threats from the elders and the courts have been coming to the aid of these youngsters,” it noted.

The top court said, “The consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given primacy… 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’.”

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