The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stated that marriage between first cousins is illegal. The assertion came after a youth moved the High Court against the State of Punjab for anticipatory bail.
The petitioner, a 21-year-old youth, had sought anticipatory bail in a case registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (Procuration of minor girl) of the Indian Penal Code at Khanna city-2 in Ludhiana district.
The counsel for petitioner submitted that his client had also filed a criminal writ petition, along with the girl, praying for grant of protection to their life and liberty. The State however argued the duo were first cousins and their fathers were real brothers.
Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan, while hearing the petition, said, “..the submission in the present petition that as and when she [the girl] attains the age of 18 years, they will perform marriage is per se illegal.”
During the hearing, the court file of the criminal writ petition was also summoned and as per its memorandum of parties, the girl’s age was stated as 17 and the petitioner had filed the said petition with the submission that both of them were in a live-in-relationship.
Along with the petition, a representation was also annexed, in which the girl had stated that while her parents had love and affection for their sons, she was ignored by them. Therefore, she decided to live with her friend and, on that account, she was apprehending that her parents could harass them and disturb their peace of mind. This petition was disposed on September 7.
Justice Sangwan, in the current case, pointed out “...in the present petition also, the petitioner has not disclosed the fact that he is the 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.”
The counsel for the State, who opposed the bail, raised objections, including that the girl was a minor. Besides, the boy and the girl were first cousins as their fathers were brothers. Hence, the petitioner concealed yet another fact in the said criminal writ petition that they fall in the prohibited ‘sapinda’ under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and could not marry each other. The HMA prohibits marriage between two individuals if they have common ancestor.