Rape on promise of marriage: Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court order seeking woman’s kundali to ascertain her mangalik status

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In a special sitting held on Saturday, the Supreme Court stayed an order of the Allahabad High Court that had directed the astrology department of Lucknow University to study a woman’s kundali (horoscope or birth chart) to find out whether she is a mangalik.

The High Court had passed the order while deciding the bail plea of a person accused of raping a woman on pretext of marriage.

The rape accused had taken the defence that the marriage could not be solemnised because the woman was a mangalik.

The Supreme Court, however, said today that a court of law, when deciding a bail plea, cannot enter into the realm of astrology which are private matters of an individual.

A Bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Pankaj Mithal, therefore, stayed the order and directed the High Court to decide the bail plea of the accused on merits.

“Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance of the case before us. the order of the single judge of Allahabad High Court passed on may 23 while deciding a bail plea is subject matter of the case. We say nothing on merits. We stay the operation and effect of the May 23 order. The matter would be taken up by High Court in next date of listing and shall be dealt on merits,” the top court ordered.

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Pankaj MithalJustice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Pankaj Mithal
The apex court initiated the case suo motu after taking note of of the May 23 order passed by the Lucknow bench of the High Court.

Mangali or mangalik is a person born under the influence of Mars as per Hindu astrology. Such persons are said to have mangala dosha which is construed to be unfavourable for marriage.

The Lucknow bench of the High Court was considering a bail application filed by one Gobind Rai.

Since the counsel for the woman argued that she is not mangalik, single-judge Justice Brij Raj Singh ordered the woman and the applicant to submit their kundalis to the Astrology department of the Lucknow University.

The University was directed to submit a report in a sealed cover within three weeks.

At today’s hearing before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta at the outset said the High Court’s direction was disturbing and should be stayed.

Advocate Ajay Kumar Singh appearing for the complainant said the order was passed after the consent of the parties.

“Nobody is questioning whether it can be decided a manglik or not and astrology is a science. But here the question is can the court order get into this,” SG Mehta argued.

“We do not understand why is this astrology report called for. We stay the order and ask the High Court to decide bail plea on merits,” the bench said.

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