The Allahabad High Court recently dismissed at least half-a-dozen petitions filed by couples, married against the wishes of their families including inter-religious marriages, seeking court’s interference on the ground that they were being harassed by their families.
Passing nearly identical orders in these petitions, the court said these petitions were frivolous and ate into court’s time. It also slapped a cost of Rs 2,500 in all but one petition.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal passed these orders June 18. These petitions had been filed by Poonam and another, Neelam Kumari and another, Meenu Singh alias Zoya Fatima and another, Ishrat Jahan and another, Jyoti Singh alias Joya and another Tismeet Bahel .
In its orders, the court said: “This court has not examined the facts of the case and thus directs that this order shall not be treated and construed by any authority as certificate of marriage.”
Further, the court said: “It appears to court that, just to get a certificate to the alleged marriage, this writ petition has been filed; It is unfortunate that such frivolous litigations are consuming a lot of time of this Court depriving other substantial matters to be conducted within reasonable time.”
Citing several Supreme Court orders, which sought mandatory imposition of cost on petitioners and their counsels for filing such frivolous petitions, the court said: “It is the liberal attitude of courts in not awarding costs which has led to frivolous writs or litigation before the courts. Costs should invariable follow the event and reasons must be assigned for not awarding costs.”
Before passing the order, the court also pointed the discrepancies in the submissions filed by the petitioners. In the case of Neelam Kumari, for instance, the letter to the Senior Superintendent of Police (Agra) seeking protection from their respective families was written June 10, while the marriage itself was solemnised on June 11.
In another case, a letter was written to the SSP (Bareilly) seeking protection against harassment on June 14, while the petition was filed June 16. The court said clearly the SSP would not have received the letter by registered post within two days and, therefore, it cannot be alleged that the police have not taken action.
In the case of Poonam and another, the court pointed out that, post-marriage, the man and wife went to their respective houses and tried to change their hearts but to no avail.
However, the next paragraph of the affidavit submitted that a day after marriage they begun living separately. The court pointed out that the petitioners could not satisfactorily explain these discrepancies.
Earlier too, the courts have been dismissing these petitions on the ground that there was no reason for interference.
However, this time around the court decided to crack the whip and also impose a fine on the petitioners.