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Report No. 242

Annexure to Consultation Paper

The Prohibition Of Interference With The Freedom Of Matrimonial Alliances Bill, 20__

A

to provide for, in the interests of protecting individual liberty and preventing victimization, prohibition of unlawful assemblies and other conduct interfering with the freedom of matrimonial alliances in the name of honour and tradition and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-second Year of the Republic of India as follows.-
1. (1) This Act may be called the Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Act, 20__. Short title, extent and commencement.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
(3) It shall come into force in a State on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint and different dates may be appointed for different States.
2. (1) No person or any group of persons shall gather, assemble or congregate at any time with the view or intention of condemning any marriage, not prohibited by law, on the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned. Unlawful Assembly.
Explanation 1: 'Marriage' shall include a proposed or intended marriage.
Explanation 2: The words 'gather', 'assemble' or 'congregate' would include acting in concert through the use of any technological means or mediums.
(2) Such gathering or assembly or congregation shall be treated unlawful and every person convening or organizing such assembly and every member thereof participating therein directly or indirectly shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but which may extend to one year and shall also be liable to fine up to ten thousand rupees.
3.(1) The members of such unlawful assembly who in furtherance thereof individually or collectively counsel, exhort or bring pressure openly or otherwise upon any person or persons to prevent or disapprove of the marriage which is objected to by the said members or to generate an environment of hostility towards such couple or either of them or their relatives or supporters shall be deemed to have acted in endangerment of their liberty and such an act of endangerment shall be punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than one year and extending upto two years and fine extending to twenty thousand rupees.

(2) Any other person acting at the instance of any member of unlawful assembly or otherwise Endangerment of Liberty. 31 indulging in the acts of endangerment of liberty shall also be punishable likewise.
Explanation: 'Endangerment of liberty' shall include the acts calculated to lead to social boycott or enforcement of social sanctions and in particular the following acts:
(i) Bringing to bear pressure on the couples or their family or relatives to leave the village or area of residence concerned;
(ii) Indulging in any conduct which will impede or is likely to impede, access to markets, community facilities, places of worship or any other necessities of life.
(iii) Divesting or dispossessing the couple or their family of any land or property belonging to them.
(iv) Any other act of harassment whether physical or mental.
45 of 1860 4. Any member or members of an unlawful assembly or any other person acting at their instance or otherwise who, with a view to secure compliance with the illegal decision of that assembly in relation to the marriage that is being objected to, indulges in criminal intimidation of the couple or either of them or their relatives or supporters shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year but which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine up to thirty thousand rupees provided that if the threat be to cause harm or injury of the description referred to in second part of Section 506 IPC, the maximum punishment shall extend to seven years of imprisonment instead of three years and fine extending to thirty thousand rupees. Criminal Intimidation.
Explanation: The expression 'criminal intimidation' shall have the same meaning as is given in section 503 of the Indian Penal Code.
5. The provisions in Sections 2, 3 and 4 shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions in the Indian Penal Code, and is further clarified that the specific offences under the above provisions shall be punishable under this Act, regardless of punishment for any corresponding offence under any other law. Provisions of IPC remain unaffected
6. Every person participating in an unlawful assembly, shall be presumed to have also intended to commit or abet the commission of offences under Section 3 and 4 of the Act. Presumption.
7. In the Representation of the People Act,1951, in section 8, in sub-section (2), after clause (c), the following shall be inserted, namely :- Amendment of Act 43 of 1951.
"(d) any provision of the Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Act, 20__."
8. Power to prohibit certain acts and the duty of authorities to take preventive measures.
[a] The sub-divisional Magistrate or District Magistrate shall receive any request or information from any person or persons seeking protection from any assembly of persons or from members of any family who are likely to or who have been objecting to any lawful marriage.
[b] Where the SDM or District Magistrate receives information from any source that there is a likelihood of convening of an assembly openly or in secrecy to condemn as objectionable any marriage proposed or solemnized, he shall, by order prohibit the convening of such assembly Power to prohibit certain acts and taking preventive measures. 33 and doing of any act towards the commission of any offence under this Act by any person in any area specified in the order.
[c] The SDM or District Magistrate may take such steps as may be necessary to give effect to such order including giving appropriate directions to the police authorities concerned. [d] The SDM or District Magistrate shall also take such steps as may be necessary to ensure the safety of the persons targeted pursuant to the illegal decision taken by the unlawful assembly.
[e] The SDM or the District Magistrate shall be in direct supervision of the protection and safety of the persons concerned.

[f] Every official called upon to act in terms of the above provisions shall be accountable for their lapses, omissions or failures and the State Government shall provide for and take such action against them as may be deemed fit for their lapses, omissions or failure to act.
9. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, all offences under this Act shall be triable by the Court of Sessions presided over by the District and Session Judge or any other Sessions Court presided over by an officer of the rank of Sessions Judge or Additional Session Judge in the district concerned as may be specified by the High Court in a notification. Trial of offences under this Act.
(2) The Court of Sessions so notified may take cognizance of any offence without the accused being committed to it for trial upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitutes such offence, or upon a police report of such facts.
10. (1) When trying any offence under this Act, the notified Court of Sessions may also try any other offence with which the accused may, under the Code, be charged at the same trial if the offence is connected with such other offence. Power of Special Court with respect to other offences.
(2) If, in the course of any trial of any offence Power of Special Court with respect to other offences. 34 under this Act, it is found that the accused person has committed any other offence under this Act or any other law, the notified Court may convict such person also of such other offence and pass appropriate sentence authorized by that law.
11. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, all offences under this Act shall be cognizable, non- bailable and non-compoundable. Offences to be cognizable, non-bailable and noncompoundable.


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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