Marriage by consent or force, HC asks about wives of lifers

Observing that the mental agony and hardship that women, who marry convicts and then lead their lives alone, was unimaginable, the Madras High Court directed the State and National Commission for Women to devise a mechanism to find out whether the women agreed to the marriage or their consent was being obtained by force or coercion due to various religious and communal reasons.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court


A division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice VM Velumani made the observation while hearing a habeas corpus plea moved by Shamma (33) seeking 30-day leave for her husband Aslam (44), a life convict at Coimbatore Central Prison.
Aslam had come out on parole for a day, got married to the petitioner 10 years ago and returned to the prison on the same day. Shamma has been living with her mother-in-law from that day. The bench opined that no woman would come forward to marry a person who is undergoing imprisonment, that too life imprisonment, adding that girls nowadays were putting forth so many conditions even to marry a person leading a normal life. “Whenever a girl marries a convict, her life gets crippled, and she is also psychologically and physiologically affected apart from the stigma which she has to bear.”
Noting that a normal married lady needed moral support and physical companionship of her husband throughout her life, the bench led by Justice Kirubakaran said: “It is not only in the present case, but in many cases the persons who are undergoing life imprisonment are getting married and have returned to the prison.”
The bench then clubbed matters in which convicts got married while undergoing imprisonment, and suo motu impleaded both the State and National Commission for Women. The plea was then posted to August 27 for further hearing.

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