Suspecting a fraud in marriages performed in temples and gurdwaras through illegal “marriage packages”, the Punjab and Haryana high court has refused to entertain petitions moved by runaway couples from Punjab and Haryana with the intention of getting authenticity of their marriage in the form of a court order ensuring their security.
Dismissing one such petition, justice AK Mittal remarked, “It appears to be a devise for getting a certificate in the form of an order from the court regarding the alleged marriage having taken place between the petitioners.”
Justice Mittal said the photographs attached with the petition did not depict that the essential requirements for performance of a valid Hindu marriage, as envisaged under provision of sections 5 and 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, had taken place.
While dismissing three such petitions on Wednesday, justice Mittal said, “I am avoiding any strict orders now. Otherwise, it is a big fraud. These are packages, I know.”
Firing a volley of questions to the petitioners’ advocate in one such case, the court asked, “Do you know how a marriage is registered? Have you read the Evidence Act? Are certificates from temples evidences? Don’t you think marriages should be registered? Do you know that a simple affidavit by you does not hold good that you have performed the marriage?”
The court observed that a number of runaway couples from Punjab and Haryana moved to SAS Nagar and Chandigarh, performed marriages in temples and gurdwaras, and thereafter, within a day, move the high court seeking protection of their life and liberty from their parents and relatives.
In another such case, the court asked the petitioners’ counsel, “If you have a threat by the girl’s parents, why didn’t you register an FIR against the parents rather than coming to the high court for protection? What stops you?” adding that, “We are not sitting here to certify illegal marriages.”
Where to register marriage?
Marriage registration had been made compulsory in India. Registration of marriage can be done in the office of the registrar of marriages, who happens to be the tehsildar in most of the states. The high court had on July 25 last year directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh authorities to provide two rooms as shelter/protection homes for runaway couples at every district headquarters, where facility for registration of such marriages and legal aid is available.
The Chandigarh administration is soon going to provide the facility to register marriages online to save couples from falling prey to touts.