Thursday, August 11, 2016

Proposal To Allow Couples Declare Fear Of Honour Killing In Marriage Forms

The Chief Information Commissioner has suggested to the central and states governments to include a declaration by the couple who intend to have a court marriage if they apprehend a threat to their life and liberty.

Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu also suggested that couples may be allowed to seek police protection from the registrar where marriage is to be performed under the Special Marriage Act.

He said such requests should be sent to be Station House Officer who can inquire into the matter and if, prima facie, the SHO finds the threat to be real, take adequate measures to offer protection to the couple.
However, the Commission also directed SDMs or marriage officers to ensure that the 30-day notice of the marriage under Special Marriage Act should be widely circulated which mandatory under Section 4(1)(d) of the RTI Act to facilitate the interested persons (including parents or guardians) to know and raise objections, if any, to safeguard the interests of the partners to the proposed marriage.

SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT
Under the Special Marriage Act, marriage can be solemnised after a copy of the notice in this regard is pasted on the office notice board by the SDM.

"Any person may within 30 days of issue of notice, can file objection to the intended marriages. In such a case, the SDM shall not solemnise the marriage until he has decided the objection, within 30 days of its receipt," the Information Commissioner noted.

He said if the SDM refuses to solemnise the marriage, any of the parties may file an appeal within 30 days to the District Court. If no one filed an objection, the SDM solemnises the marriage after 30 days of the notice.

When Is The Notice Required?
Generally notice is required to prevent marriage between persons within degrees of prohibited relationship, bigamous marriages, i.e., while a spouse is living without obtaining valid divorce, marriages without valid consent (not having age of giving valid consent), with person of insanity, or persons not attaining prescribed marriageable age etc.

"However, there is a negative angle to this. Violent social consequences of intercaste and inter religious love marriages cannot be ignored. The khap panchayats and their mandates coupled with honour killings are shocking developments emanating from the exercise of freedom of choice of life partner," Acharyulu said.

Justifying his recommendation to include the threat of life to couples, the Information Commissioner said if right of parents to (information) have notice of marriage of their children is honoured, it might result in deprivation of their life or liberty, in gross violation of Article 21.
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