In a huge blow to the autocracy of self-proclaimed Khap Panchayats, the Supreme Court has observed that any attack on adult men and women who opt for inter-caste marriage is “absolutely illegal”.
The bench ruled, “If an adult man and woman marry, no khap panchayat or society can question them”.
“An adult girl or boy can get into marriages of their choice and no Panchayat, Khap, individual, society or parents can question it” CJI Dipak MIsra @reporter_tv— Dr. B. Balagopal (@balunair99) January 16, 2018
The court further said,
Social ostracism or any attack by khap panchayat against men and women opting for inter-caste marriage because of their own volition is “absolutely illegal.
The court has also warned Centre that if it doesn’t take any action towards banning the Khap Panchayats and their illegal activities, then the court will have to step in to do the same.
Khap Panchayats in many parts of North India are known to assume an all powerful status to themselves and have been responsible for orchestrating attacks on young couples for choosing to marry out of their faith and caste. These Panchayats have no legal sanction in the country and this SC order is significant in many ways because it basically translates to how no one in the society has the right to interfere in an adult man and woman’s life.