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Indian Society

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the attacks on those opting for inter-caste marriage were “absolutely illegal” and no ‘khap panchayats, individual or the society can question any adult woman and man marrying of their own choice.’

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud also pulled up the Centre for not taking the matter seriously and not filing its suggestions on the issue, saying such panchayats or bodies cannot threaten adult women and men marrying.

Khaps are caste or community organisations, particularly in the rural areas of north India, which at times act as quasi-judicial bodies and pronounce harsh punishments based on regressive and age-old customs and traditions.

The Bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, who represented the Centre, that if the government does not come out with its suggestions, then the court would pass order on the suggestions given by senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae.

“You take it from us, whatever the amicus says about khap, we are not concerned with that. What we are concerned is that when an adult girl or boy gets into marriage, no khap, no individual or no society can question them,” the Bench said. “Whenever there is any kind of collective attack on a boy or a girl, who are adults, it is absolutely illegal,” it said.

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