A woman has alleged that a man drugged her and forced her to marry at a fraudulent marriage bureau in 2001.
The woman, who moved the high court in 2004 after the family court dismissed her case, is seeking to quash her marriage to the man.
Petitioner’s counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar told the high court on Thursday that the perpetrator had lured the petitioner on the pretext of getting her an affidavit for her education. However, she was offered a cup of coffee, which made her drowsy and then her signatures were fraudulently obtained and the marriage was solemnised.
According to the petition, the man even tried to blackmail her parents with the marriage certificate to extort money during her wedding in 2003. While observing that such a marriage would be void, a division bench of justice VM Kande and justice PD Kode questioned how an ex-parte order could be passed by this court as the respondent did not attend the hearings.
During the hearing, Dhakephalkar pointed out that the “marriage shops” that were prevalent earlier were shut and action was taken against the lawyers and Kazis following a public interest litigation filed by Majlis Manch in 2004.
The court was informed that practising lawyers and notaries, who offered registration and dissolution of marriages, ran most bureaus. The bar council had proposed action against such lawyers.
Dhakephalkar submitted that the family court had erred in not granting the relief as there was no legal validation to the marriage, nor was there any valid solemnisation of the process.
He also said that the Kazi who had supposedly done the conversion of the petitioner from Hindu to Muslim was arrested. The court will continue hearing the case next week.