This Article is From Oct 09, 2020

Court Allows Tamil Nadu Teen To Go With MLA Husband, Closes Father's Plea

The bride's father, a priest, had filed a petition in the Madras High Court alleging that 35-year-old AIADMK lawmaker A Prabhu had abducted his daughter, Soundarya.

Dalit MLA A Prabhu recently married Soundarya, a priest's daughter, triggering a row in Tamil Nadu (File)


A 19-year-old woman who married a 35-year-old MLA in Tamil Nadu was allowed to go with her husband by the Madras High Court, which dismissed her father's petition that alleged she had been kidnapped.

The teenager's wedding to AIADMK lawmaker A Prabhu earlier this week had become controversial.

Soundarya, the daughter of Brahmin priest Swaminathan, appeared in the High Court and was allowed to speak to her father, after which she told the judges that she wanted to go with her husband. She denied that she was kidnapped, as her father alleged.

Soundarya's family reportedly objected to her marrying a man belonging to a scheduled caste. The couple this week released videos saying they are both adults, had fallen in love over the last few months and their marriage was consensual.

According to Soundarya, her family had known Mr Prabhu for more than a decade and had always welcomed him home until their wedding on Monday. Mr Swaminathan had reportedly rebuffed Mr Pabhu and his family when they asked for his blessings to marry his daughter.

Mr Swaminathan had called the relationship a "breach of trust", and accused the MLA of entering into a relationship with his daughter while she was still a minor and entrapping her. "Prabhu was in love with my daughter for four years, even when she was a minor. She was under his control," he told the court.

He had earlier said he opposed the marriage "not because of caste, (but) because of the age difference", but he made no mention of it in before the court.

Talking to NDTV earlier, Mr Prabhu had said he was hopeful the relationship with his new in-laws will soon improve.

"Till I was 30 I was busy with politics... during lockdown I had close interaction with her (his wife) and we fell in love... I have known my wife's father for many years and we had close ties. He has even fed me with his own hands and prayed for my success. I feel there are some political forces that have poisoned his mind against me," he said.

When asked about the impact of an inter-caste marriage on his political career, the MLA said, "Politics is public life and marriage is my personal life. I don't think I mix the two."