Inter caste marriages must be accepted to root out the caste system: Madras HC

June 25, 2019

Inter-caste marriages are good for the society in rooting out the caste system, held the Madras High Court while providing police protection to a couple.

The Court stated that the reason for a lot of inter-caste marriages happening in the society is that the young generation is gradually moving out of the ill effects of the caste system. It further stated that many thinkers believe that inter-caste marriage is the only panacea to root out the evil caste system from the society and these changes are good for the society in rooting out the caste system which must be accepted by the elders.

In India, inter-caste marriages are governed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. In the present matter, a boy and a girl who belonged to different caste got married in spite of stern objections from the girl’s family. Thereafter, the girl’s family started threatening them and the threats continued even after the couple started residing with the boy’s family. The couple then filed a complaint before the police. However, when the police didn't take any action on the complaint, the couple approached the Madras High Court.

The Court on hearing the plea observed that both of them have attained majority and have every right to decide on their life partner and the parents or family members of the couple cannot threaten or harass them.

Further, the Court said that it was the duty of the police to take necessary action on the complaint made by the petitioners and to provide them with police protection. The High Court then directed the police to call the parents of the girl and her relatives to conduct an enquiry and to instruct them that they should not interfere with the marriage of the petitioners. It stated that if the parents, in spite of the instructions given to them continued to threaten the petitioners, immediate action shall be taken against them. The court then ordered for the police protection of the petitioners.

In this regard, the Court also referred to a landmark Supreme Court judgment where it was held that strict actions must be taken against the persons who are found causing violence or threat to an inter-caste married couple. In the same judgement, the Court also observed that interfering in the personal life of the boys and girls who are from different caste and want to get married, is an illegal act and has to be ruthlessly stamped out.

In furtherance to this, the Court directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent atrocious acts against inter-caste couples. When any such incident takes place, apart from criminal proceeding against the offender, the State Government has also been directed to suspend the District Magistrate/ Collector and SSP/SPs of the district if-

  • They had prior knowledge that such an incident is going to take place and no action has been taken on their part to prevent the incident.

  • The incident had already occurred, and they failed to arrest the culprit and others who are involved within the appropriate time period.


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