Supreme Court stays a bizarre Lucknow Bench Order asking for examination of a rape victim’s horoscope

In a strange turn of events, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had asked a woman with whom the accused repeatedly had sex on the promise of marriage to get her kundali examined by the head of the astrology department of Lucknow University to determine whether she was manglik.

TODAY, the Supreme Court stayed a seemingly strange Order of the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench), directing the head of the astrology department at Lucknow University to decide whether a rape victim is ‘manglik’. 

In a special sitting set after suo motu cognisance of the matter was taken by the vacation Bench comprising Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Pankaj Mittal, the court reportedly remarked on the “out of context” nature of the directions and raised concerns about the infringement of the right to privacy.

A single-judge Bench comprising Justice Brij Raj Singh had passed the directions in the order in respect of a bail application by the accused charged under Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. 

According to the victim, after the roka (engagement) ceremony had been performed between her and the accused, the accused repeatedly had sexual intercourse with her on the promise of marriage. However, as per the complaint, subsequently, the accused refused to marry her.

On June 15, 2022, a first information report (FIR) had been lodged against the accused. On October 29, 2022, the district and sessions judge, Lucknow, had rejected the bail application of the accused. 

In the Order passed by the high court, Justice Singh notes that the accused had refused to marry the victim on the ground that she is manglik. As per the belief among certain Hindu communities, a person born  under the influence of Mangal or Mars is considered manglik, which affects, among other things, the auspiciousness of their marriage and has a negative impact on the life of their spouse. 

According to the accused, the pandit who had been engaged for their marriage had mentioned that as per Hindu astrology, the marriage between the parties could not succeed because of the manglik dosh (stain of Mars) in the kundali (horoscope) of the victim.

In his Order, Justice Singh, decided to delve into the issue of whether the victim was manglik. He directed the parties to produce their kundalis before the head of the astrology department of the Lucknow University within ten days. 

On pursuing the Order of the high court, the Supreme Court Bench raised serious doubts about the reasoning behind considering ‘astrology’ as a subject matter of the issue before the court.

Staying the Order of the high court, the Supreme Court Bench has directed the high court to decide the bail application on merits.


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