January 27, 2023

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Delhi govt. to come up with safe house for inter-caste couples

To protect couples of inter-caste marriages from harassment and threats, the Delhi government’s social welfare department has decided to set up a “safe house” for providing shelter to them.

The city government informed the Delhi High Court that the safe house will accommodate young bachelors, couples whose families or the local community or khaps are against their relationships.

A separate residential area will be provided to men and women as decided by the government.

At present, one safe house to accommodate such couples is already functioning under the Social Welfare Department at Kingsway Camp here.

The Delhi government also stated that it has decided to set up a Special Cell in all 15 police districts in the Capital. The Special Cell will comprise Deputy Commissioner of Police, District Social Welfare Officer and representatives of the Women and Child Development Department.

The High Court was also told that the Social Welfare Department will create and manage a new 24-hour helpline regarding complaints of harassment and threat to couples of inter-caste marriage.

The Delhi government said it was in the process of drafting the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to operationalise the Special Cell and the 24-hour helpline with the help of all stakeholders.

The Special Cell will function in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of Shakti Vahini vs Union of India. Indicating the crucial role of the police in addressing the threats to couples of inter-case marriage, the Supreme Court had in the case directed that the Special Cell will be headed by District Superintendent of Police.

Recently, the proposal for setting up of the helpline has been moved to the Delhi Commission for Women for extending their existing service of women helpline number 181 to victim couples.

The Delhi government affidavit came in response to a habeas corpus plea by NGO Dhanak Of Humanity and a man claiming that his woman friend was allegedly being confined against her will by her parents who were against her marrying him as they belonged to different castes.

The court will hear the case on October 6.