In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that assemblies like 'khap panchayat' which intends to scuttle a marriage of two consenting adults is "absolutely illegal".
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY 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 urging the top court to address the issue of bodies like the khap panchayats issuing dictates and interfering in marriages which does not meet their approval.
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.
- With agency inputs