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"Photographs are not proof of marriage neither is a Court concerned with the marriage in this jurisdiction" held the High Court.
While granting police protection to a runaway couple who had married against their parents' wishes, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently clarified that there is no need to attach photographs of the couple as a proof of marriage (Hardeep Kaur and Anr v State of Punjab and Ors).
Justice Rajiv Narain Raina has asked the Registry to stop entertaining such annexures with the application. It was observed,
The Court has, therefore, directed,
In the instant case, the High Court granted the prayer of the petitioners while noting that they deserved immediate attention of the Police Department to ensure that the couple was not unduly harassed by anyone including their respective parents.
The Commissioner of Police, Jalandhar, Punjab was directed to take steps consistent with their safety while granting liberty to the couple to present representation to the police describing their apprehension from those who oppose the union so that effective steps are taken.
At the previous hearing in the instant matter, the High Court had questioned the counsel for petitioners Advocate Shakti Mehta, on the need to attach photos of the ceremony.
In response, the Court was told that If the photos are not placed on record the registry raises an objection, prompting the Court to seek an explanation from the Registry.
The Registry informed the High Court that no objections were raised if the photographs were not attached. However, if the phoographs were appended and not clear enough, then an objection was raised.
The Court held that it had no interest in looking at the pictures except for the curiosity that may be prompted when they are placed on record, which distracts the mind and which can potentially invite needless comments from the Bench and waste its time.
While emphasising that the time has come to cut down on unnecessary volume in such pleadings, the Judge also went on to observe that the High Court was not built for parasitical non-litigation in such cases.
The High Court added that the money spent abundantly on this thriving industry could well last the couple their necessities for quite a long time or at least till they live on love and fresh air.
Justice Raina was of the view that this practice deserves to be curtailed as it is a big burden and drain on the resources of the High Court and its staff from the filing stage to uploading the order.
In this backdrop, he also opined that such cases should be designated to the subordinate judiciary or some other mechanism. As noted in his order,
He added that, "This is just a suggestion to unburden the court from this litigation" and that it was for the legislature to find the solution, if required or deemed expedient.