Laxmibai Chandaragi B vs The State Of Karnataka on 8 February, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Laxmibai Chandaragi B vs The State Of Karnataka on 8 February, 2021

Author: Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Bench: Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Hrishikesh Roy

                                                              1

                                                                                                REPORTABLE

                                              IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                                 ORIGINAL JURISDICTION



                                      WRIT PETITION [CRIMINAL] NO.359/2020



     LAXMIBAI CHANDARAGI B & ANR.                                           Petitioner(s)



     VERSUS



     THE STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS.                                         Respondent(s)



                                                  J U D G M E N T

SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J.

Rule.

1. We have heard learned counsel for parties.

2. One Mr. Basappa Chandaragi lodged a complaint with the

Murgod Police Station, Savadatti Taluk, Belagavi District stating

that his daughter Ms. Laxmibai Chandaragi, petitioner No.1 herein

was missing since 14.10.2020. In pursuance to the complaint, FIR

No.226/2020 of a missing person was registered and the

investigation officer recorded the statement of the missing

person’s parents and her relatives and took call details. From
Signature Not Verified

the call details, it became apparent that the petitioner No.1 was
Digitally signed by
ASHA SUNDRIYAL
Date: 2021.02.11
17:55:47 IST
Reason:

in contact with Mr. Santosh Singh Yadav, petitioner No.2. In the

course of investigation it was found that the petitioner No.1,
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apparently without informing her parents, had travelled by flight

from Hubli to Bangalore and further from Bangalore to Delhi and

thereafter married petitioner No.2. The petitioner No.1 sent her

marriage certificate to her parents through whatsapp on

15.10.2020 in which she revealed the factum of marriage to

petitioner No.2. It is the case of the State that the IO

proceeded to Ghaziabad to know the whereabouts of petitioner No.1

and on visiting the residence of petitioner No.2, was informed by

his parents that they do not know the whereabouts of the

petitioners. However, the petitioner No.1 spoke to the

investigating officer and informed that she had already married

petitioner No.2 and was residing with him. But the IO instead

insisted that the petitioner No.1 should appear before the Murgod

police station to record a statement so that the case can be

closed. The petitioner No.1 sent a letter to the IO stating that

she was married to petitioner No.2 and there was threat from her

parents and thus, was unable to visit the police station. The

case was still not closed of missing person by the IO.

3. It is in the aforesaid circumstances, that the present

petition has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of

India since according to the petitioner there is an issue of

duality of jurisdiction arising from her residing with petitioner

No.2 in the State of Uttar Pradesh while the petitioner No.1 came

from Karnataka. It is the case of the petitioners that the uncle

of petitioner No.1 was threatening them. On the petitioners

approaching the Allahabad High Court on 19.10.2020, seeking
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protection for themselves and the family members, the matter

could not be taken upon even after about a period of one month

for urgent hearing.

4. The petitioners have annexed a transcript of the

conversation between petitioner No.1 and the police whereby the

IO is asking her to come back to Karnataka as otherwise they will

come to her and register a case of kidnapping against petitioner

No.2 at the behest of her family members.

5. We have gone through the translation of the transcript at

page D to page H originally in Kannada, now translated in English

in which the petitioner No.1 expressed the feeling of lack of

safety. Though the IO stated that they would like to close the

case, they wanted her to get her statement recorded at the police

station. The IO also stated that the family members may file a

case against her that she has stolen things from the home and if

an FIR is filed, there would be a negative mark against

petitioner No.2 and they would have to arrest him which would be

problematic for his job also.

6. The aforesaid does not tally with what is stated in the

counter affidavit to the extent that the investigation officer

had at no point threatened the petitioners.

7. The aforesaid does not reflect very well on the police

authorities or the IO, the marriage certificate having been

received by him and the conversation already been held with
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petitioner No.1 where she clearly stated that she was married to

petitioner No.2 and that she was feeling threatened and

apprehensive of coming to the police station. If the IO could

have visited the residence of petitioner No.2, he could very

well have recorded the statement of petitioner No.1 at the place

where the petitioners were residing rather than insisting and

calling upon the petitioners to come to the local police station

at Karnataka. Not only that, he undoubtedly sought to compel the

petitioner No.1 to come and record the statement at police

station on the threat of possibility of a false case being

registered by her parents against the petitioner No.2 and the

consequent action of the police which would result in the arrest

of petitioner No.2. We strongly deprecate the conduct of the IO

in adopting these tactics and the officer must be sent for

counseling as to how to manage such cases.

8. Both the parties are well educated. The petitioner No.2 is

an M.Tech from NIT, Tiruchirapalli, while petitioner No.1-wife,

is an M.A.B.Ed. The petitioner No.2 had got a placement as an

Assistant Professor in Jain College of Engineering, Belagavi,

Karnataka while the petitioner No.1 was a Lecturer in KLES

(Karnataka Lingayat Education Society) Pre-University College,

Bailhongal and it appears that they developed liking for each

other during these assignments. However, there was resistance

from the parents of petitioner No.1, though the parents of

petitioner No.2 were willing for the matrimony of both the well

qualified petitioners who are majors and Hindu by religion.
5

9. Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life

partners which, in turn is a departure from the earlier norms of

society where caste and community play a major role. Possibly,

this is the way forward where caste and community tensions will

reduce by such inter marriage but in the meantime these

youngsters face threats from the elders and the Courts have been

coming to the aid of these youngsters.

10. We are fortified in our view by earlier judicial

pronouncements of this Court clearly elucidating that the consent

of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once

the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that

their consent has to be piously given primacy.1 It is in that

context it was further observed that the choice of an individual

is an inextricable part of dignity, for dignity cannot be thought

of where there is erosion of choice. Such a right or choice is

not is not expected to succumb to the concept of “class honour”

or “group thinking.”2

11. In Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K M & Ors. 3, this Court noticed

that the society was emerging through a crucial transformational

period.4 Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of

privacy, which is inviolable and even matters of faith would have

the least effect on them. The right to marry a person of choice

was held to be integral Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

In this behalf, the judgment of the nine Judges Bench in Justice

1 Shakti Vahini v. Union of India (2018) 7 SCC 192
2 Asha Ranjan v. State of Bihar (2017) 4 SCC 397
3 (2018) 16 SCC 408
4 Lata Singh v. State of U.P. (2006) 5 SCC 475
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K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India5 may also be referred to where

the autonomy of an individual inter alia in relation to family

and marriage were held to be integral to the dignity of the

individual.

12. The intervention of this Court would really not have been

required in the given facts of the case if the IO had conducted

himself more responsibly in closing the complaint and if he

really wanted to record the statement of the petitioner No.1,

should have informed that he would visit her and recorded the

statement instead of putting her under threat of action against

petitioner No.2 to come to the police station.

13. The way forward to the police authorities is to not only

counsel the current IOs but device a training programme to deal

with such cases for the benefit of the police personnel. We

expect the police authorities to take action in this behalf in

the next eight weeks to lay down some guidelines and training

programmes how to handle such socially sensitive cases.

14. Insofar as the present case is concerned, the petitioners

having filed the present petition, no further statement is really

required to be recorded and thus, the proceedings in pursuance to

the FIR No.226/2020 dated 15.10.2020 registered at Murgod Police

Station, Belagavi District, Karnataka are quashed with the hope

that the parents of petitioner No.1 will have a better sense to

accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction not only

5 (2017) 10 SCC 1
7

with petitioner No.1 but even with petitioner No.2. That, in our

view, is the only way forward. Under the garb of caste and

community to alienate the child and the son-in-law will hardly be

a desirable social exercise. In the words of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

“Annihilation of Caste:

“I am convinced that the real remedy is inter-marriage.
Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith
and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being
kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling—the
feeling of being aliens—created by Caste will not vanish.
Where society is already well-knit by other ties, marriage
is an ordinary incident of life. But where society is cut
asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of
urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking caste is
inter-marriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of
caste.”

15. The writ is disposed of in the aforesaid terms with some

hope for the future!

…………………………………………….J.

[SANJAY KISHAN KAUL]

…………………………………………..J.

[HRISHIKESH ROY]

New Delhi;

February 08, 2021.



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