No Run­away Brides, Please

Arya Sa­maj tem­ples told to serve six-day no­tice

India Today - - NATION - By Ro­hit Par­i­har

Run­away love­birds can’t just rush to the near­est Arya Sa­maj tem­ple to ex­change vows any­more. The Ra­jasthan High Court on Oc­to­ber 21 has stip­u­lated that the tem­ple must serve a six-day no­tice to their par­ents be­fore solem­nis­ing the mar­riage.

The di­rec­tive, by a bench of Jus­tices Dalip Singh and S.S. Kothari came af­ter Arya Sa­maj tem­ples in the state were found con­duct­ing sev­eral mar­riages with­out fol­low­ing rules. The bench said prob­lems arose be­cause Arya Sa­maj tem­ples ig­nored rules made by their apex body, the Arya Pra­tinidhi Sabha, in 1993 for con­duct­ing mar­riages. Courts in the state have been sad­dled with a plethora of habeas cor­pus pe­ti­tions and other dis­putes ques­tion­ing the va­lid­ity of mar­riages that took place in such tem­ples. The bench asked the Sabha to mon­i­tor its af­fil­i­ates.

The bench said it recog­nised the role of Arya Sa­maj in view of re­sis­tance from ortho­dox caste Hin­dus and or­dered po­lice to pro­tect cou­ples who de­mand se­cu­rity. The judges also clar­i­fied that a mar­riage need not in­volve parental con­sent but they ought to be in­formed be­cause such mar­riages at Arya Sa­maj tem­ples of­ten in­volve run­aways. The court di­rected district mag­is­trates to pre­pare a no­tice to be dis­played at the of­fices of col­lec­tor or tehsil­dar and po­lice sta­tions.

The court’s di­rec­tions are aimed at curb­ing mar­riages be­ing per­formed with­out fol­low­ing pro­ce­dure. But it may end up de­ter­ring those who elope to get mar­ried in the face of op­po­si­tion from their par­ents and give par­ents a chance to cre­ate more hur­dles as the cou­ple’s where­abouts and place of mar­riage would be­come known.

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