Observing that the legal profession is not meant to conduct marriages, the Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to take appropriate action against an advocate who made arrangements for the marriage of a minor boy by forging documents. A division bench of justices CT Selvam and N Sathishkumar made the observation when a habeas corpus plea by V Ganesan, who hails from Coimbatore, came up for hearing recently.
The bench directed the inspector general of registration department in Chennai to hold an inquiry and take legal action against the sub-registrar of Poonamallee near here for registering the marriage without proper verification of the age of the couple. The petitioner, father of the girl, who is about 19 years of age, sought the court’s direction to produce his daughter, a PTI report said.
When the matter came up, the couple along with their parents were produced by the police as per the court’s order. The couple informed the bench that their marriage was registered at the sub-registrar office in Poonamallee on January 22 and produced the marriage certificate issued to them. To support his stance, the boy produced a certificate issued by Government Adi Dravidar Welfare High School in Tiruvallur district which stated he was born on June 7, 1995.
However, the counsel for the girl’s parents produced a transfer certificate issued by a polytechnic college in Chennai, which stated the boy’s date of birth as October 19, 1997. Following a detailed inquiry by the bench, the couple admitted that the record sheet produced was forged and that the boy had attended the polytechnic college. The boy told the court that he had acted with the sole intent of safeguarding the girl, who had left her family on her own volition fearing she would be forced into marriage.
The couple also stated that the arrangement for their marriage was made by their advocate, E Lenin. Passing order on the plea, the bench said: “A perusal of the entire documents would show that the same have been prepared by the advocate and manipulated as if the boy is a major and got the marriage registered.”
“We are pained to note this. Legal profession is not meant for conducting marriages,” it observed. The bench directed the registry to forward the certificates to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry “for appropriate action.” The court then ordered the IG of registration department to take action against the sub-registrar for registering the marriage without ascertaining age-related details.
Recording the submission of the girl that she wanted to stay in a hostel here and pursue her studies rather than go with her parents, the judges closed the petition.