Protection to inter-faith couple must be provided irrespective of Conversion: Allahabad High Court

The fact of that an individual has converted to Islam would not be a relevant factor while ensuring that there is no interference in the liberty of the individual unless there is any allegation by the individual regarding forcible conversion, held, a single-judge bench of Justice Salil Kumar J, while adjudicating the matter in Yashi Devi vs. State of UP; [WRIT – C No. – 10655 of 2021].

This petition has been filed by the petitioners for a direction upon the respondents not to interfere with their marital life and liberty. It is claimed that petitioners are major and have solemnized marriage out of their own free will. It is alleged that private respondent/s is interfering with their marital life and liberty. It has been asserted in the writ petition that the petitioner no.1 – Yashi Devi is aged about 20 years and Guchhan Khan – petitioner no. 2 is aged about 40 years and both entered into marriage after petitioner no.1 converted to Islam.

Law is settled that it is the right of couples to live peacefully without any interference in case they are major. Hon’ble Supreme Court in Lata Singh Vs. State of U.P., AIR 2006 SC 2522 has already stated that; “The caste system is a curse on the nation and the sooner it is destroyed the better. In fact, it is dividing the nation at a time when we have to be united to face the challenges before the nation unitedly. Hence, inter-caste marriages are in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system. We, therefore, direct that the administration/police authorities throughout the country will see to it that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter caste or inter-religious marriage with a woman or man who is a major, the couple are not harassed by any one nor subjected to threats or acts of violence, and anyone who gives such threats or harasses or commits acts of violence either himself or at his instigation, is taken to task by instituting criminal proceedings by the police against such persons and further stern action is taken against such persons as provided by law.”

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that; “In view of the clear enunciation of law by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the above matter, it is obligatory for the concerned authorities to ensure compliance of the above directions in view of Article 141 of the Constitution of India. The filing of this petition or the order of its disposal, however, would not be treated as proof of marriage between the petitioners. It is also clarified that the petitioners, if major, are entitled to live together even if not married and, therefore, proof of their marriage would not be required and shall not be insisted upon by the concerned Police Officer. It is further clarified that the fact of the petitioner having converted to Islam would not be a relevant factor while ensuring that there is no interference in the liberty of the petitioners unless there is any allegation by petitioner no.1 regarding forcible conversion. Since the writ petition is being decided at the stage of fresh motion itself and notice has not been issued to private respondent/s, as such, liberty is given to them to file a recall, in case any of the averments made in the writ petition are found to be incorrect, and this order shall stand automatically vacated, in case any First Information Report has been lodged in the matter.”

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