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Khap interference in marriage of two adults absolutely illegal: SC

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New Delhi:In a relief to inter-faith or inter-caste couples who often face threat to their lives due to their relationship, the Supreme Court today banned any interference by illegal assemblies like ‘khap panchayats’ into their marriages, terming the intrusions as “absolutely illegal.”
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also laid down guidelines to prevent such interferences and said the norms laid down by it would remain in force till a suitable legislation is enacted by the Parliament.
The ruling came on a plea by NGO Shakti Vahini, which had moved the apex court in 2010 seeking protection of couples from honour killings.
While reserving its verdict in March this year, the court had observed that when two consenting adults get married irrespective of their background, no relative or a third person can interfere or threaten or unleash violence against them.
During the proceedings in the matter, the Centre too had told the top court that state governments must provide protection to couples fearing for their lives due to inter-caste or inter-faith marriages and that such couples should inform the marriage officers about any such threat so that they can be given protection.
In an indication that it would not recognise ‘khap panchayats’, the top court had also said that it would refer to them only as an assembly of persons or as a community group.
The apex court had earlier said incidents of attacks against those going for inter-caste or inter-faith marriages were “absolutely illegal” and no ‘khap panchayat, individual or the society could question any adult woman or man marrying to a person of his or her choice.
‘Khap’ panchayats are caste or community groups, present largely in rural areas of north India which at times act as quasi-judicial bodies and pronounce harsh punishments based on age-old customs. Several cases of women and men falling victim to ‘khap’ diktats have been reported over the years, particularly in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The apex court had also asked khap panchayats not to behave like “conscience keepers of the society” and said that a marriage between two adults was governed by the law.
‘Khap panchayats’ had earlier told the court that they were encouraging inter-caste and inter-faith marriages and had referred to provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act which prohibit a union between ‘sapinda’ relationships or close blood relatives among Hindus.
They had claimed that they were performing their duties as conscience keepers of the society.
The court had invited ‘khap panchayats’ to hear their views before issuing an order to stop them from harassing or killing couples purportedly to protect the honour of a family, caste, community or faith.
The Centre had earlier pleaded with the apex court to put in place a mechanism to monitor crimes against women by khap panchayats, saying that the police was not able to protect such women.
The top court had also said that as a pilot project, it would examine the situation in three districts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh where khap panchayats were active.


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Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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