Marriage between 1st cousins illegal, says High Court Mumbai
Sep 14, 2010
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday rejected one Harmant Singh's plea that his "wife" Hardeep, who is also his first cousin, be allowed to live with him. The Hindu Marriage Act disallows marriage between first cousins.
"If the request was to be considered, it would be putting a seal of approval on a relationship which isn't permitted in law," said a division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice U D Salvi. The judges allowed Hardeep to go with her parents. "She is an adult and free to take her own decisions," said the judges, adding that Hardeep could decide her plans in consultation with her parents.
Harmant's lawyer made repeated pleas the court ask Hardeep with whom she wished to go. The judges, however, pointed out that "the law doesn't permit you and her to stay together."
Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari told the court that in a habeas corpus proceeding the scope was limited to producing the person concerned before the court and that they had brought Hardeep from Amritsar.
Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act bans, among other things, marriage between a brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or of two sisters.
The marriage is void, unless the custom of the community permits it.
Harmant, who claimed to be a marine officer, said he had met Hardeep in Amritsar. They married at an Arya Samaj temple in Mumbai in January 2009. Nine months later, her family called her home on the pretext that her father was sick. Subsequently, he wasn't allowed to meet her. Harmant, admitted that she was his first cousin, and under the law the marriage was void.
(Names of the couple have been changed to protect their identities)