HC Declares Marriage Between First Cousins Illegal

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Chandigarh- The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that marriage between first cousins is illegal.

The court said that marriage which petitioner man wants to perform with a girl, who is his first cousin, was also per se illegal.

“…the submission in the present petition that as and when she (the girl) attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is also per se illegal,” the judge said on Thursday while hearing the petition.

The assertion came after a 21-year-old man moved the high court against state of Punjab seeking anticipatory bail in a case registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (procuration of minor girl) of the IPC at police station Khanna City-2 in Ludhiana district on August 18.

The state counsel, while opposing the bail plea, contented that the girl was a minor and her parents had lodged the FIR as she and the man were first cousins and their fathers were brothers.

The man’s counsel told Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan that the petitioner had also filed a criminal writ petition, along with the girl, for protection of life and liberty.

The court file of the criminal writ petition was summoned during the hearing and as per its memorandum of parties, the girl was stated to be 17 years of age and the petitioner man had filed the petition with the submission that both of them were in a “live-in-relationship”.

It was stated in the petition that date of birth of the girl was August 2003 and on the date of filing the petition on September 3, 2020, she was of the age of 17 years and 14 days.

Along with petition, a representation was also annexed, in which the girl had stated that her parents loved their sons but ignored her, therefore, she decided to live with her friend (petitioner) and on that account, she was apprehending that her parents can harass them and disturb the peace of their mind.

The court disposed of this petition on September 7. The state was directed to grant them protection if any threat was perceived to the man and the girl. However, the judge made it clear “that this order shall not be taken to protect the petitioners (man and the girl) from legal action for violation of law, if any, committed by them”.

The judge, after hearing counsel for the parties in the present petition, said, “I find that in the present petition also, the petitioner has not disclosed about the fact that he is first cousin of the girl and, therefore, the submission in the present petition that as and when she attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is also per se illegal.”

While opposing the anticipatory bail plea, the state counsel argued “that the girl was aged about 17 years and is a minor, therefore, her parents have got the FIR registered as the youth and the girl are the first cousins as their fathers are real brothers”.

“Hence the petitioner has concealed the fact in the petition that they fall in the prohibited ‘sapinda’ (which prohibits marriage between two individuals if they have common ancestor) under the Hindu Marriage Act and cannot perform marriage with each other,” the state counsel argued.

“Once the petitioner and the girl are prohibited from performing marriage with each other, there is no question of their being in any live-in-relationship, which is per se immoral and not acceptable in the society,” it was argued.

The counsel for the petitioner has sought time from the court to address arguments and the case was adjourned to January next year.

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