To “test the bona fide of the boy as to whether he would be able to keep the marriage surviving”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, through a series of orders, has started directing husbands in runaway marriage cases to create fixed deposits in the name of their wives, the amounts ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 3,00,000.
The orders have been passed in cases of couples who have approached the High Court for police protection after marrying against the wishes of their families.
One judge, Justice P B Bajanthari, has passed such a direction in at least four cases since July 27.
On an average, 20-30 runaway couples approach the High Court each day, seeking police protection while alleging threats to life and liberty from their families who are opposed to their marriage. In most cases, the man and woman belong to different castes or follow different faiths, or are from the same community but do not have the consent of their families.
Earlier, the High Court only used to issue directions to the district police to provide protection to the couple after verification of claims. In recent orders, the High Court has instructed fixed deposits ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 300,000.
“Petitioners are present in the court. Petitioner No. 2 is hereby directed to make necessary arrangement for fixed deposit of a sum of Rs 2 Lacs in the name of petitioner No.1 within a period of 1 month from today. The said FDR be for a period of 3 years,” Justice Bajanthari said in an order Monday.
Orders for a fixed deposit, passed in very few cases in the past, are becoming more frequent now. In an order passed Wednesday, the High Court, in the case of a Patiala couple, directed the husband to deposit with the High Court registry a copy of the FDR within a period of one month.
Incidentally, the High Court last week closed proceedings in a 2015 case in which the husband had been directed to deposit a sum of Rs 30,000 within nine months. Since there was no intimation regarding the amount and neither was there any complaint, the High Court, disposing the case, said it appeared that the couple have moved on with their lives.
In the cases of runaway couples, the High Court, in the last two months, has also issued directions to police of districts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to investigate “illegal marriages” performed by self-styled institutions including Pandits, Purohits and Granthis “against the wishes of the parents of the parties and normal norms of the society”.