Supreme Court Current Affairs

Khap Panchayats can’t interfere in marriages of adults: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court held that every adult has right to marry anyone and nobody including parents, khap panchayats or similar associations can question their choice of spouse.

It also ruled that any kind of attack and interference on such adults opting for marriage, especially inter-caste marriage as ‘absolutely illegal’. The case has been listed for further hearing in February 2018.

SC Ruling

The apex court asked Central Government to give its response on suggestions given by senior advocate on ways to prevent harassment and killing of young couples in name of family honour who opt for inter-caste marriages. It also issued strict direction to government to control such attacks. It also warned Central Government that if it does not act towards banning Khap Panchayats then, it will step in.

Background

The SC was hearing petition filed against khap panchayats by NGO Shakti Vahini in 2010 seeking directions to Centre and state governments for preventing honour crimes. Earlier it had sought suggestions from Shakti Vahini, amicus curiae and khap panchayats on the issue. It also had invited khap panchayats to hear their views before issuing order to stop them from harassing and killing couples and women in the name of honour.

Khaps Panchayats

Khaps are caste or community organisations representing clan or group of related clans. They frequently make pronouncements on social issues and have often landed in controversies owing to their diktats.

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Indu Malhotra: First woman lawyer to be directly promoted as SC judge

The Supreme Court collegium led by Chief Justice of India (CI) Dipak Misra has unanimously recommended name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court. With this, she becomes first woman lawyer from the country to be directly elected for post of judge of the Supreme Court.

Overall she will be seventh woman judge in SC, since it was established 67 years ago. In 1989, Justice M. Fathima Beevi became first woman judge in Supreme Court. At present, Justice R. Banumathi is lone woman judge in SC which currently has a strength of 25 judges of total sanctioned strength of 31 (including 31).

Indu Malhotra

Indu Malhotra is reputed senior advocate practising in SC or the past 30 years. She was born in 1956 in Bengaluru, Karnataka to noted advocate Om Prakash Malhotra.

She joined the legal profession in 1983 and later secured first position in Advocate-on-Record exam for Supreme Court. She has specialised in law of arbitration and has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations. She has authored Commentary on the Law and Practice of Arbitration in India (2014).

In 2007, she became second woman to be designated as senior advocate by SC only after legendary Justice Leila Seth, who was given honour in 1977. She is on board of trustees in SaveLIFE Foundation and represented NGO in case which resulted in SC passing a slew of laws to protect good Samaritans, who save lives in road accidents.

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