No need to attach pictures of marriage ceremony while filing a protection petition: Punjab & Haryana HC tells runaway couple
Litigation News

No need to attach pictures of marriage ceremony while filing a protection petition: Punjab & Haryana HC tells runaway couple

"Photographs are not proof of marriage neither is a Court concerned with the marriage in this jurisdiction" held the High Court.

Aishwarya Iyer

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,

"Photographs are not proof of marriage neither is a Court concerned with the marriage in this jurisdiction. The Court is only concerned about the identity of the petitioners in these cases which can be traced back. For these there are Aadhar cards and other official photo identification and passport size photographs of both etc."
Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Court has, therefore, directed,

"The Registry will stop entertaining any annexures containing photographs of couples as evidence or proof of marriage and demand an affidavit of necessity, explaining the purpose they are important to the prayer, from the counsel [but not the petitioners]."

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.

"The diversion often needlessly diverts the case to a momentary standstill just when only a simple direction is sought and mechanically issued based upon Article 21 of the Constitution of India to save young couples from distress and apprehended physical harm from angry parents and their families opposing the marriage."
the Court observed.

High Court judges being tasked with demeaning childlike work

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.

"Over the years a cottage industry has grown around these petitions and time has come to trim them to the basic demands of pleadings The High Court was not built or meant for this parasitical non-litigation."
Punjab and Haryana High Court

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,

"I believe it to be the most demeaning childlike work High Court Judges have been forcibly tasked with by a creation of the ingenious Bar and a solution needs to be devised to caste the burden on some other alternative mechanism of redress including by amending the law and conferring such power on the subordinate judiciary etc."
Justice Rajiv Narain Raina

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.

Read the Order here:

Hardeep Kaur and another v State of Punjab and Others.pdf
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