HC seeks video, documents prior to firing incident in Anti-Sterlite protests

Madurai: The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to submit video recordings, documents and reports pertaining to protests against the Sterlite Copper smelter plant in Tuticorin, which saw violence and firing in the town on the 100th day of the stir.

Thirteen people were killed in police firing on May 22 and 23 when violence broke out during the protest by locals, demanding closure of the Sterlite plant (a unit of Vedanta Limited) over pollution issues.
A division bench comprising justices C T Selvam and A M Basheer Ahmed also sought details of the intelligence report on the agitation, and directed the state government to submit the same on July 18.

The judges were yesterday hearing a PIL filed by A W D Tilak, a Tuticorin-based advocate, who sought a copy of the order issued to invoke Section 144 of CrPC that was clamped in parts of the town during the anti-Sterlite agitation.
The petitioner submitted that prohibitory orders had been clamped in the jurisdiction of SIPCOT and Tuticorin South Police Station limits only.
The protest was peaceful for 99 days, he submitted.
The petitioner also questioned why some people attached to certain outfits were not invited to the peace committee meeting.
The district Collector was not in town during the crisis, he claimed.

Multiple cases had been filed against individuals, the petitioner alleged.
The government counsel submitted that policemen were also affected and an equal number of policemen were injured.
The court heard all the related petitions including PIL and HCP seeking to restrain the police from invoking National Security Act etc.
The Madras High Court had on July 9 directed the state government to furnish a video in its possession allegedly showing some anti-Sterlite protesters with petrol bombs during the stir in May as it observed a CBI probe into the violent incidents will instill confidence in the minds of the people.

The state government had issued an order for “permanent closure” of the operation of Sterlite plant and the company has recently moved the National Green Tribunal challenging it.

Child marriage will not automatically become void: Madras HC

child marriageThe Madras High Court in Madurai has held that a wedding between minor girl and boy will not become void automatically without either of them obtaining a decree of divorce from family court within two years of their attaining the legal age for marriage.

A division bench here comprising justices S Manikumar and C T Selvam gave the ruling while setting aside the order of a lower court in Tirunelveli in April last refusing to take on file a woman’s divorce petition on the ground that she was a minor while getting married in 1995 and hence the wedding had automatically become void then itself.
The bench said that though the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, prescribed a minimum age for marriage, the breach of the Act would render the marriage void under Section 11 or Section 12.

However, section 13 of the act, which lists out grounds for divorce, states that every child marriage shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party, provided that such marriage, whether consummated or not, was repudiated within two years of either of them attaining the marraige age – 18 for women and 21 for men. This anomaly was taken note of by a full bench of the high court, which had expressed hope that Parliament would carry out necessary amendments to avoid complications, the division bench noted. It was apparent that the Tirunelveli court was under the mistaken impression of a marriage involving a child being void. Hence, it directed the Family Court in Tirunelveli to number the divorce petition and proceed in accordance with law.

Child Marriage Prevention Act secular in nature: HC

The Madras High court bench here today ruled that Child Marriage Prevention Act was secular in nature and Muslims could not rely on their personal law to claim the right to give minor girls in marriage even at the age of 15 presuming that the girl had attained puberty.

m, dismissing an appeal against an order passed by the Perambalur Judicial Magistrate restraining the marriage of one Shahila Baanu, who was just 17 years old, said the objective of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006 was to enhance the health of the children and woman in particular.

The Magistrate had confirmed the order passed by the District Child welfare officer preventing the family of Abdul Khader from solemnising the marriage of their daughter on November 23, 2012 when the girl was just 17 years old.

The judge said Prevention of Child Marriage Act “crossed all barriers of personal law irrespective of personal law. The marriage of a girl is prohibited until the age of 18.”

With no government advocate appearing for the case, the judge took the help of Abudkumar Rajarathinam by appointing him as Amicus Curiae.

The judge rejected the contention that Child Marriage Prohibtion law was general in nature and not applicable to Muslims. Besides, in India, the uniform civil code had not been enacted, it was argued.

The judge also rejected the contention thar for a Muslim girl’s marriage, only Muslim personal law could be applied and Shariat law made applicable for bride above 15 when the girl is presumed to attain puberty.

The judge also pointed out that there was growing demand among Indians to make the Prevention of Child Marriage Act more stringent and efficient to prevent and eradicate the evil practice of child marriage.

“The practice of child marriage runs counter to the social objective of the provisions of the act. As per the act the officials have power to prevent child marriage and also the courts.”

Quoting various judgments, the judge also said “what is permissive under scriptures cannot be equated with mandate. Also religious practices are based on faith. But law is brought taking into consideration the social welfare, social justice, nation’s interest, welfare of the people and other apsects.