Mughal-e-Azam 2013: A judge, caste and a love story

Here is something that suggests modern education isn’t any guarantee against deep-seated caste prejudices.

A Rajasthan High Court judge is allegedly keeping his 30-year-old daughter under house arrest to prevent her from marrying the man of her choice. The father, Justice R.S. Rathore, a senior judge of the Rajasthan High Court, purportedly does not want his 30-year-old daughter Supriya to marry Siddharth Mukherjee, who she met and fell in love with, a year back.

Supriya’s beau Siddharth Mukherjee has now moved the Supreme Court for relief. In his writ petition of Habeas Corpus (number 215 of 2013), the 38-year-old has pleaded with the apex court that the Jaipur police be directed to produce Supriya in the court. He has claimed that he fears for Supriya’s life.

The Supreme Court has issued directions to the Station House Officer (SHO) of Gandhi Nagar police station of Jaipur on December 11 to “produce Ms. Supriya Rathore before this Court without fail on 16th December, 2013 at 10.30 a.m.”

In his petition, Mukherjee has claimed that Supriya and he are in love and wish to marry each other. He has alleged that Supriya’s father “has illegally detained her at her house forcefully”. Mukherjee has claimed that Supriya’s father has refused to accept their relationship “as he (the father) wants his daughter to get married in her own caste who are Rajpoots” and not Mukherjee, a Bengali Brahmin.

Mukherjee has produced evidence in court to establish that Supriya has similar feelings about him and wants to marry him. His petition has further claimed that when Supriya expressed her wish to marry him, the judge “took her with him to his residence by making false promises of getting her married to the petitioner and thereafter house arrested her”.

It was during her detention at her father’s house, Mukherjee’s petition has claimed, that “she could get access to computer and wrote an email to your lordship and various judges of Rajasthan High Court and other officials of police department and newspapers but no step has been taken by any of the person to rescue the girl”.

Mukherjee has claimed that the last communication from Supriya was received on November 14. In the annexure that Mukherjee produced before the court Supriya ostensibly expressed apprehension “that her father might kill her or the petitioner by using her contacts…”. Mukherjee has requested the court that it direct the police to produce Supriya before the court “by getting her released from the illegal house arrest/detention of her father and provide the petitioner and Ms Rathore sufficient security to enable them to get married”.

Justice Rathore studied at the elite Mayo College, Ajmer and Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College.

Saurabh Joshi contributed to this report.

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