‘Celibacy’ or ‘Matrimony’ is one's choice: Madras HC

-Ritika Singh

Background

We the people of India possess the fundamental right of freedom which includes the right to association, irrespective of religion, race or any social difference. We enjoy the right of celibacy or matrimony, it all depends upon the personal choices and preferences of an Individual and nobody can constrain us to choose a certain thing through coercion, undue influence or any force. And the state ensures that we enjoy the rights given. Every government must see the fundamental rights of the citizens are safeguarded. The actions of the officials should not be the cause of violation of the basic rights of the citizens. Therefore, they should be very observant and not lenient in performing their sovereign functions as they are coming under the definition of State as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

 Current situation

 A 26 years old man’s fundamental right to freedom of choice has been violated with addition to 100% physical disability.

 The Madras High Court directed it to pay compensation worth Rs. 63,26,000 with interest to a man, for restraining him of marital pleasure, in extension to other grievances, by providing him physically disabled in an accident.

The court comprehended that accidents were a source of human rights and fundamental rights infringements and said that the Government must see that the rights of citizens are protected.

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 Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice P. Velmurugan passes the distinct order and said,

“As an eligible normal human being, he would have got married and would have enjoyed marital bliss. As already pointed out, the 3rd respondent is compelled to remain as a bachelor against his wish, as no lady would marry a person with paraplegia, depriving him of marital pleasure and bliss. Forced abstinence is nothing but a violation of the third respondent’s human rights. Forced abstinence has nothing more than negative consequences on the health of such a man.”

In the area, an electric pole knockdown on the Respondent herein, resulting in a spinal injury to him which led to 100% disability. Allegedly, the pole fell on him due to the careless actions of the Respondent Corporation whose employees did not weld the pole properly.

The single Judge of the high court passed an order in favour of the Respondent, awarding him reimbursement worth Rs. 5,00,000/- on July 4, 2019. Accordingly, the present appeal was preferred (because the better compensation for the sufferer is preferred).

In an appeal, the Appellant-Corporation asserted that the accident occurred while a contractor was trying to remove the pole. Moreover, it explained that the accident had arisen on account of Respondent’s negligence who was ignorant and was talking over cell phone rather than walking on the platform, despite cautioning made by the employees of the contractor.

Opposing with the Corporation’s compliances, the court said that the Corporation ought to have put signboards across the road to alert the by-passers; and that the Corporation could not be allowed to fix the liability of its failure on the Respondent.

“Any work performed in a public place, especially when people are passing through, should be done with proper precaution, after placing appropriate warning boards. It is not the case of the appellant in the counter affidavit that they took precaution by putting up warning boards informing the public about the work done at the spot. Therefore, the appellant failed to take precautions and warn the public about the ongoing work by placing signboards,” the court said.

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The court approved with the Respondent’s grievance that the Corporation’s actions had compelled him to remain a bachelor since no woman would marry a man who was confined by a wheelchair. Remarking that freedom to choose between celibacy and matrimony was a fundamental right, the bench said,

“He or She can choose either “celibacy” or “matrimony” according to one’s wish. Nobody can be compelled either to undertake celibacy or to get into matrimony and if it is done, it will be a violation of a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution of India, apart from the basic human right.”

Question of law

Accident as compulsion not to marry, this sounds as extraordinary as the case prevails, but if so, then all the people who have met with permanent injuries to be given this allowance because any disability is a setback in the course of the marriage.

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Not only marriage but many other things also get burdened because of accidents, numerous cases of other catastrophes also lead to devastating results, should the choice of matrimony be also included there and compensation also is hiked up for it.

Conclusion

Marriage is a basic choice of life and everyone who is a major has a right to choose everything and anything that one desires as said and safeguarded by the judiciary granting compensation that fits the penalty.

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