Dalit MLA A Prabhu recently married Soundarya, a priest's daughter, triggering a row in Tamil Nadu (File)
Dismissing allegations of kidnapping in a habeus corpus petition filed by her father, the Madras High Court today allowed a 19-year-old woman to go with her husband, a 35-year-old AIADMK lawmaker A Prabhu whose marriage to the teen earlier this week has created a controversy.
Soundarya, the daughter of a Brahmin priest Swaminathan, appeared in the High Court today. She was allowed to speak to her father after which she told the judges that she wanted to go with her husband. She also denied allegations that she was kidnapped.
Over the last few days, the couple has 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 always welcomed him home till their wedding on Monday. Mr Swaminathan had reportedly rebuffed Mr Pabhu and his family when they sought his daughter's hand in marriage earlier.
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 today.
He had earlier said he opposed the marriage "not because of caste, (but) because of age difference", but 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."