Lata Singh vs. State Of U.P. & Another ((2006) 5 SCC 475)
This case was filed by a girl Lata in Supreme Court of India under article 32 of the Constitution of India in form of a writ for her right to marry a person with her own will. Supreme Court allowed the writ and ordered in favor of the petitioner as well as gave protection to the couple.
Following are the facts of this case:
- That the writ was filed by petitioner in the apex court for the protection of her “right to choose” which means right to marry a person of her own choice.
- That the petitioner was a major girl. She used to live with her brother because of her father’s death. She left her brother’s home on her will to marry a man of her choice outside of her caste whose name was Bramha Nand Gupta.He was having business in Delhi and other places as well. They married in one Arya Samaj Mandir in Lucknow.T hey had a child out of this wedlock.
- That the bothers of the petitioner Ajay Pratap Singh, Shashi Pratap Singh, and Anand Pratap Singh were against this relationship. There was hue n cry as this marriage was an inter-caste marriage.
- That the brothers of petitioner started abusing and beating the petitioner’s husband and his family. in the furtherance of the same, they filed a police complaint against petitioners husband and his family of the kidnapping of petitioner alleging that petitioner is not mentally fit and accused persons have to kidnap their sister.
- That the matter was with the police and police arrested two sisters of the petitioner’s husband along with the husband of one of the sisters and the cousin of him. One sister was with her one-month-old baby in jail.
- That petitioner’s brothers threatened to kill her, her husband and their family too. They beaten up petitioner’s husband. They took forcible possession of the shop of him and cut the crops and sold off in the market from the agricultural land of petitioner’s husband.
- That the case was filed just to frame the relatives of petitioner’s husband and relatives. Three relatives and her husband had to live in jail for a long time. They could not get bail.
- That to save her husband and his relatives from harassment the petitioner then approached the Rajasthan Women Commission, Jaipur because she was staying in Jaipur as she was apprehending danger to her and her husband’s life.
- After the intervention in the matter, of the state women commission and National Human Right Commission, the bail was granted to all accused person as no legal case could be made out. Statement of petitioner was recorded in front of the judicial magistrate in which, she stated that she married to the person with her own will and left home in all sensed still committal order was passed.
- After the opposition, the final report filed by police and the fast-track court issued a non bailable warrant against which petitioner reached to High Court under section 482 in which court issued direction for accused to appear before the Sessions Judge. The matter remained pending.
- That the petitioner was afraid of staying to Lucknow as was apprehending danger on the life of her family and relatives.
- Whether the writ of certiorari and/or mandamus for quashing of a trial be issued in favor of the petitioner or not.
Judgment and Decision
Following are the directions were passed in such case:
- Two judge bench of apex court decided the matter in favor of the petition by quashing the criminal proceedings of the subordinate courts.
- That court expressed its view that there is no bar for inter-caste marriage provided under the Hindu Marriage Act or any other law of the land and, hence, no offense was committed by the petitioner, her husband or husband’s relatives.
- The court said that the caste system is a curse for the nation and the sooner it is destroyed it will be better. It divides the nation at a time when we should stay united to face the challenges.
- The court opined that inter-caste marriages are in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system.
- It was held that disturbing news keeps coming from many parts of the country that young people who undergo inter-caste marriage, are threatened or violence is actually committed on them. Such acts of violence/ threats/harassment are wholly illegal and people who commit them must be punished.
- Court held that no offense was committed by the accused persons. The whole criminal case in question was an abuse of the process of the Court and administrative machinery for creating trouble for the petitioner and her husband.
- Court held that in the circumstances given above, the writ petition was allowed and quashed the proceedings in Sessions court and pending in the Fast Track Court Lucknow. The warrants against the accused were also quashed.
- Apex Court directed the police at all the concerned places that they should ensure that neither the petitioner nor her husband and any relatives of the petitioner’s husband should be harassed or threatened. Any acts of violence should not be committed against them. If anybody is found doing the same, the authorities should proceed against him in accordance with law.
- The court in furtherance of the above-directed that according to the law criminal proceedings should be instituted by the concerned authorities against the petitioner’s brothers and others who all were involved in this matter.
- The court directed to the police all over the country that in such kind of cases strict action should be taken against the people who do violence and cases like honor killing emerge.