No Runaway Brides, Please
Arya Samaj temples told to serve six-day notice
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.