Allahabad HC over rules the love jihad ordinance.
A division bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday, 11 November, held that two orders given previously by single judges of the court, regarding conversion purely for the sake of marriage was illegal, were not good law.
The two-judge bench held that as Right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is a part of the right to life and personal liberty. The bench also felt that interfering into a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals.
The HC asserts that the matter of a religious conversion is irrelevant if adults from both the sides consent to their relationship. It added that the state can not encroach into the personal life of two adults to stay together.
The orders were quite contrast to the provisions of proposed ‘Love Jihad’ laws in various BJP-ruled states. Ordinances were approved in five BJP-ruled states including Uttar Pradesh. These states declared marriages after a conversion without permission will be declared null and void.
The court has given a crucial order which is contrary to the orders passed by the previous high court orders. BJP leaders like UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Karnataka BJP leader CT Ravi cited these laws to justify the need for laws to tackle ‘Love Jihad’, despite many flaws in the orders which lacked legal basis for such laws.
The High Court division bench of Justices Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi held that the two previous orders which were passed in September, and another 2014 – as “not laying good law”.
The High Court felt that these judgments did not deal with the issue of life and liberty of two matured individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live.
As a result, the Allahabad High Court observed that the intervention of the courts into an individual’s personal choices is an infringement to Article 21 of the Constitution of India which includes right to freedom of choice and the right to live with dignity.
The court quashed the FIR filed by the woman’s father alleging offences under Sections 363, 366, 352 and 506 of the IPC (kidnapping, abduction for forcing a woman to marry etc.) and Section 7 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
In this case a Muslim man and Hindu woman were living together peacefully as husband and wife for over a year. The two of them said that conversion in question, was voluntary and not forced.
The court commented that they do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat as Hindu and Muslim, rather as two grown-up individuals who out of their own free will and choice are living together peacefully and happily over a year.