HE Gujarat High Court Wednesday came to the rescue of an inter-faith couple, facing threats to their lives and forcible marriage against their wishes.
During the hearing, the government pleader assured the high court that the couple would be given necessary protection and joint accommodation till the pendency of the petition.
A single-judge bench of Justice Vipul Pancholi also issued notice to the state government seeking its reply to why there was no safe house constituted in terms of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shakti Vahini, to accommodate inter-faith couples facing harassment.
The top court, in the Shakti Vahini case, had also directed state governments to create special cells in every district, comprising a superintendent of police, a district social welfare officer and a district Adi-Dravidar welfare officer to receive petitions/complaints of harassment of and threat to couples of inter-caste marriage.
The petition alleged that in response to multiple RTI applications, the state government evaded answering whether safe houses/special cells as mandated by the Shakti Vahini case existed in the state.
The inter-faith couple alleged that one of them had gone to purchase stamp paper to solemnize their marriage under the Special Marriage Act and that information was leaked to the woman’s family, which then resulted in their giving up the idea of marrying for the present.
The plea also alleged that the woman’s bank account was frozen by the police at the behest of her family.
The petitioners couple are presently residing in a safe house in Delhi.
The petition has also been joined by the NGO Dhanak of Humanity, an organization of inter-faith/ caste couples.
Advocate Utkarsh Singh appeared for the petitioners.