Protection of runaway couple, SC asks Centre to respond

Last Updated 22 February 2019, 10:03 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union government to respond to a plea by the Delhi Commission for Women directions to protect runaway couples, facing threat from their own families and other social vigilante groups for marrying outside their caste or religion.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer asked the Centre and the Delhi police to file its response within two weeks on the petition drawn by advocate Rajesh Inamdar and filed by Gautam Talukdar on behalf of the DCW.

The statutory body in its petition also sought a direction for implementation of the Supreme Court's judgement in 'Shakti Vahini' case (2018) wherein directions were issued to the Union government and states for protection of couples to combat 'honour crimes'.

“Runaway couples are compelled to elope from their ordinary place of residence/state and land up in another district/state to seek shelter and protection under the threat from their own family members/community,” it said.

The DCW, which had rescued about 15 couples from a shelter home run by one NGO on January 29-30 due to alleged harassment and extortion, sought directions to the state and the central government to provide security and safe house to runaway couples with the help and assistance of respective Women’s Commissions set up by the state government, if necessary.

“The issues are writ-large which concerns the safety and liberty of runaway couples who may not be able secure a safe place/shelter to stay and in these circumstances the necessary preventive and remedial measures have to be in place to protect their fundamental rights, particularly the need for safe-home/shelter and round the clock protection,” it said.

“In absence of any such protection from the State and the authorities the runaway couples may become a victim of 'honor crimes',” it added.

(Published 22 February 2019, 10:03 IST)

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