While the bride's family demands that the adult woman should not be allowed to live with the person of her choice, the court ruled otherwise.

TN court lets inter-caste couple live together but theyre still running from family
news Caste Friday, December 08, 2017 - 16:12

Heavy security was deployed at a court in Cuddalore on Thursday, as a newly-married inter-caste couple arrived to be interrogated by a judge. Twenty-two-year-old Tamilselvi, who is from the Vanniyar community, and nineteen-year-old Ezhil Rajan, who belongs to an SC community, had to appear in court after the woman’s family filed a missing person’s complaint.

"Over 100 policemen were present at the court to provide security for the couple. The judge said that because the girl was a major, she could decide where she wanted to stay and that necessary protection had to be given to them," said Nagavendhan, the prosecution lawyer.

The couple had informed the police previously that they feared punishment from their families.

According to the defence lawyer, Ezhanchiyan, Tamilselvi left her house in Maruvai village on December 1 and did not return home. She got married to Ezhil Rajan, who hails from the same village, the next day. The marriage was conducted at a temple and was not legally formalised, following which her family allegedly threatened to kill the couple for marrying out of their castes.

The pair filed a police complaint, and was provided official protection.

"But when they left the court, the woman's family followed them in a van to track them down," Nagavendhan alleged.

When TNM spoke to the defence lawyer, he admitted that the fact they belonged to different castes was one of the reasons why the family wanted the couple to separate. Ezhanchiyan added, "Our problem, however, is also the fact that the boy in only 19 years old, so the marriage is not even valid. We don't know why the court took such a decision. And this claim that we threatened them is completely false … In fact, the police checked all the women's relatives for weapons and they found nothing on them." 

The defence lawyers said they were not aware of where the woman is currently residing, but they plan to take the matter to the High Court. "We are going to file a habeas corpus petition. Let the girl go where she wants, but she can't live with that boy," said a lawyer.

However, the court has declared that the girl can choose to live with whomever she wants for she is above legal age in India.

This comes as the state awaits the verdict in the Sankar-Kausalya case: In March 2016, the couple was attacked in a busy market, in broad daylight, by three people wielding sickles. Sankar did not survive and Kausalya sustained serious injuries to her head. The men who attacked her were allegedly hired by her upper-caste Thevar family, which was displeased by her decision to marry a Dalit boy.

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