A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging a recent order of the Allahabad High Court holding that conversion just for the purpose of marriage is unacceptable whereby Allahabad High Court had declined police protection to a married couple in a case where a Muslim girl had converted to Hinduism and married a Hindu boy.
Contentions in the Plea Against Conversion for Marriage
The plea in the Supreme Court filed for conversion for marriage by Advocate Aldanish Rein states that the High Court has laid down a wrong precedent that inter-religious marriages cannot be solemnized after one partner converts to the religion of the other. It states,
“…order has not only left the poor couple at the mercy of the offending family members, the police, the vigilantes and the hate monger religious associations but has also laid a wrong precedent that the inter-religious marriages cannot be solemnized at the instance of conversion of religion by either of the partner.”
It is also submitted in the plea of Conversion for Marriage that the High Court has wrongly interpreted its 2014 decision in Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra & Anr. v. State to hold that “conversion just for the purpose of marriage is unacceptable”.
Highlighting the repercussions of such an order, the petitioner states that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, citing the order, “raised the issue of love jihad”, and invoked “Ram naam satya” – a Hindu funeral chant, thereby threatening couples of inter–religious marriage.”
Rein also notes the ordeals faced by couples seeking to marry under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and how the Act is troublesome for “runaway couples”.
The plea avers that as per Section 5 of the Act, a runaway couple cannot just apply with any marriage officer as either of them have to be a resident of the same jurisdiction for at least 30 days prior to applying. In order to prove the same for conversion for marriage, they would have to show some documents, such as a rent agreement etc.
It is also contended in plea for conversion for marriage,
“…looking into the above provisions of the Special Marriage Act and the other out of the Statutory Book formalities/rules imposed by the marriage officer/State Government, the only option left with the Runaway Inter- religious Couple is to convert to the religion of either of the partner to get married.”
The petitioner further states that choice of religion is a personal choice of a person and that if “the Court does not allow a person to freely choose his religion, it amounts to a violation of his or her fundamental right as guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”
“Constitution of India provides for right to freedom of religion and the same includes that a person has the right to choose and profess any religion or no religion at all. It also includes the right to convert into any religion as many times as one wants to with no tabs.”
- The plea prays for immediate police protection to be provided to the inter-faith couple that “the well being of the couple may be ascertained”.
- It is further prayed that all matters pending in various High Courts challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act be transferred to the Supreme Court and decided upon.
- It is prayed that a committee presided by a retired Supreme Court judge be formed to ascertain and recommend appropriate amendments to the Act.