The Supreme Court of India on Monday reiterated its stand on "inter-faith/caste" marriages by saying "no one should be allowed to interfere in marraige of two consenting adults."
Hearing a writ petition by NGO Shakti Vahini on "honour killing", a three judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar said "Where two consenting adults agree to enter into matrimony, no individual rights, group rights or collective rights shall interfere therein or harass the couple," reportedLiveLaw.
When the lawyer appearing for Khap Panchayats (Caste Panchayat) objected over marriages between Sapindas (same gotra marriage),as they are considered siblings, the CJI retorted: "Who are you to interfere?"
"Don't be conscience keepers. If two adults want to get married nobody should interfere," said the Court.
The hearing comes at a time when Delhi is till recovering from the shock over the killing of a 23-year-old Ankit Saxena by the family of his Muslim girlfriend.
The murder was raised before the judges, but the CJI said immediately, "Do not get into it. That case is not before us," reportedNDTV.
Earlier, while hearing the same petion, the apex court had termed as "absolutely illegal" any attack by khap panchayats or associations against an adult man and woman opting for inter- caste marriage.
The apex court had sought suggestions from an NGO 'Shakti Vahini', amicus curiae and 'Khap Panchayats' on the issue.
Khaps are caste or community organisations in villages which at times act as quasi-judicial bodies and pronounce harsh punishments based on regressive and age-old customs and traditions. The NGO had moved the top court in 2010 seeking directions to the central and state governments to prevent and control honour crimes by taking a number of measures.
The apex court had also invited 'Khap Panchayats' to hear their views before issuing any order to stop them from harassing and killing couples and women in the name of honour.
The Centre had pleaded with the apex court to put in place a mechanism to monitor crimes against women by Khap Panchayats, as the police was not able to protect women facing ordeal at their hands. The top court had also said that as a pilot project, it would examine the situation in three districts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh where Khap Panchayats were active.
With agency Inputs