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India: Law vs caste

Sunday 24 July 2016, by siawi3


Married couple unites after 2 yrs, thanks to the law

By Vijay Chavan,

Pune Mirror | Jul 24, 2016, 02.30 AM IST

Marriage had been opposed by the families as the boy and girl were from different castes; girl says she was harrased

This is a story of two lovers, a la Sairat, only with a happy ending. Opposed by their families for belonging to different castes, 22-year-old Sonia* and 25-year-old Sudhir* married against their wishes, after which the girl was confined by the parents to their house. It was only after Sinhgad police intervened that the matter was resolved. They informed the parents that the girl was a major and free to marry anyone of her choice. They also laid down the potential legal consequences that could result out of their act.

On Friday, the girl’s parents, who are landlords in the area, handed over her custody to the husband.

Advocate Hemant Zanjhad, who helped Sudhir, told Mirror, "Since the family members of the girl are local landlords, there was a threat to the couple’s life. While lodging the complaint, we laid down the law provisions regarding people of marriageable age and as to who is involved in decision-making. When they were told of the legal consequences, Sonia was freed from her parents."

The married couple first met at B K Chavan College in Dhayari, three years ago. The girl belonged to an ’upper caste’ family, while the boy had a ’lower caste’ background. When the couple decided to get married, both the families protested vehemently. Sudhir’s family came around after he convinced them, but Sonia’s family remained reluctant. The duo decided to get married against Sonia’s family’s wish in 2014, when Sonia was completing her third year B Com and Sudhir had joined a BPO as a graphic designer. Considering the possible threats from the family, they kept their marriage under wraps.

One June 3, 2016, Sudhir decided it was high time they both stayed together and asked Sonia to leave her parent’s house. Her attempt failed as they came to know about their relation and she never turned up. Instead, Sudhir received a call where she informed him that she was grounded and was tortured by her family members.

Later, Sudhir spoke to her mother over mobile and revealed their marriage. The call changed nothing and Sonia’s family kept her confined.

After receiving several calls where Sonia claimed she was being harassed, Sudhir decided to take legal help and approached Sinhagad police station with a lawyer. Cops immediately issued summons to Sonia’s family asking them to tell the truth. They refused to reply.

Assistant police inspector J C Mujawar, who was handling the case, said, "Sonia’s family members were reluctant to send Sonia to her to husband despite them being married legally. Also, they denied having confined her to house. When we convinced them about the law and status of their marriage and age, they agreed and immediately handed over the girl’s custody." He added, "Since the issue was resolved amicably, there was no need to file any FIR against family members."

*Names changed to protect identity.