Exploring the Desirability of Self-Respect Marriages in India: A Reflection on the Judgment in Ilavarsan v. The Superintendent of Police

  • Lovenish Kaur
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  • Lovenish Kaur

    Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, India

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Marriage is a profound institution in human society. It owes its essentiality to a number of natural reasons such as procreation, love, affection and companionship along with legal implications of legalized cohabitation, legitimacy of children and mutual inheritance. Despite being a deeply entrenched institution in society, it has its own set of foundational wrongs such as the commodification of women, usage of marriage as a means to satiate proprietary greed, solidification of gender roles, condonation of sexual and reproductive violence and the list is a continuous one, leading to decisional conflicts of opting out of it. However, due to reasons such as education, growth in technology, financial independence of women and instrumental role of the Indian legal system, there has been a discernible shift towards approach to marriages in the society. These changes include greater autonomy in choosing life partners, breaking gender stereotypes, overcoming caste and religion-based taboos, conjugal relations before marriage, sologamy, heterosexual relationships, desire-based approach to procreation rather than pressure-based and decreasing reluctance to divorce in unhappy marriages. One of the prominent concepts that has gained popularity in recent times and is being talked about is that of self-respect marriages, especially due to the recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of Ilavarsan v. The Superintendent of Police. This research paper seeks to shed light on the concept by explaining self-respect marriages, tracing its development in India and attempting to analyze the said judgment. It further seeks to explore the desirability of self-respect marriages in the Indian context, highlighting their societal implications, individual empowerment, and potential challenges. It is an attempt to analyse whether the paradigm shift from traditional norms that these marriages purport to be are any yielding answers to the questions of personal choice, consent, compatibility, individual autonomy, freedom and whether they are reflective of the evolving congenial societal values.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 5, Page 1468 - 1474

DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLMH.115896

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