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Report No. 242

11. Summary of Recommendations

11.1 In order to keep a check on the high-handed and unwarranted interference by the caste assemblies or panchayats with sagotra, inter-caste or inter-religious marriages, which are otherwise lawful, this legislation has been proposed so as to prevent the acts endangering the liberty of the couple married or intending to marry and their family members.

It is considered necessary that there should be a threshold bar against the congregation or assembly for the purpose of disapproving such marriage / intended marriage and the conduct of the young couple. The members gathering for such purpose, i.e., for condemning the marriage with a view to take necessary consequential action, are to be treated as members of unlawful assembly for which a mandatory minimum punishment has been prescribed.

11.2 So also the acts of endangerment of liberty including social boycott, harassment, etc. of the couple or their family members are treated as offences punishable with mandatory minimum sentence. The acts of criminal intimidation by members of unlawful assembly or others acting at their instance or otherwise are also made punishable with mandatory minimum sentence.

11.3 A presumption that a person participating in an unlawful assembly shall be presumed to have also intended to commit or abet the commission of offences under the proposed Bill is provided for in Section 6.

11.4 Power to prohibit the unlawful assemblies and to take preventive measures are conferred on the Sub-Divisional / District Magistrate. Further, a SDM/DM is enjoined to receive a request or information from any person seeking protection from the assembly of persons or members of any family who are likely to or who have been objecting to the lawful marriage.

11.5 The provisions of this proposed Bill are without prejudice to the provisions of Indian Penal Code. Care has been taken, as far as possible, to see that there is no overlapping with the provisions of the general penal law. In other words, the criminal acts other than those specifically falling under the proposed Bill are punishable under the general penal law.

11.6 The offence will be tried by a Court of Session in the district and the offences are cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.

11.7 Accordingly, the Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances Bill 20___ has been prepared in order to effectively check the existing social malady.

Justice (Retd.) P.V. Reddi

Justice (Retd.) Shiv Kumar Sharma

Amarjit Singh

Prevention of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances (in the name of Honour and Tradition) - A Suggested Legal Framework Back

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