Indian priest charged for conducting marriage at "knife-point" - report

by Nita Bhalla | @nitabhalla | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 23 January 2012 10:43 GMT
Dehli court charges priest with kidnapping and compelling a woman to marry, even though the woman made no allegations against him


NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - A Hindu priest in the Indian capital has been charged with kidnapping after he knowingly conducted the marriage of a woman who was forced at knife-point, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.

According to the report, the Delhi High Court ruled that the priest be charged with kidnapping and compelling a woman to marry, even though the woman made no allegations against him.

The report said the woman was taken by a man to a temple in northwest Delhi on a pretext and then forced into marrying him at knife-point on Dec. 18, 2004 in a ceremony conducted by the temple's priest.

Delhi High Court's Justice Mukta Gupta said performing the marriage ceremony while the woman was being threatened showed the priest's complicity in the crime.

"An omission is also an act, and in the present case the way the petitioner (the priest) co-operated in the offences committed by the co-accused clearly showed that he shared a common intention to commit the alleged offences," Gupta was quoted as saying.

The report said the case could serve as a lesson to priests around the country who perform marriages which they often know as against the will of the bride.

Activists say there are thousands of forced marriages and child marriages being conducted in largely patriarchal India, but few are reported by victims due to worries over being ostracised by their families or fear of their abusers.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.