Plea in SC against HC order holding religious conversions just for sake of marriage invalid

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (PTI) A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking setting aside of an Allahabad High Court order which held that conversions just for the sake of marriage are invalid.

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, the petition said.

It also sought direction for providing immediate police protection to the couple whose petition was dismissed by the high court.

The plea has been filed by advocate Aldanish Rein against the high court order declining to provide police protection to the married couple where a Muslim woman converted to Hinduism and married a Hindu man.

The high court had on September 23 dismissed the plea by the couple seeking direction to police and the woman's father not to disturb their marriage and had said that conversion just for the sake of marriage is not valid.

The petition said: “It is further prayed that all the matters pending in various high courts challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act 1954 should be transferred to this court and adjudicated so as to bring uniformity in the Act for the entire country or in the alternate a committee be ascertain and recommend appropriate amendments in the Act for its effective implementation.” It said that the high court 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 claimed that citing the high court judgement, the Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have already announced they would enact law banning conversion of religion for the purpose of marriage.

It claimed that the Special Marriage Act is only meant for couples where both the families are in agreement of such marriages or at least are not out there to harm the couple.

“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,” it said.

It added that “the 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. Choice of religion is a personal choice of a person.” “When two adults of different religion, fall in love with each other and decide to get married against the wishes of their parents / society / religious leaders etc. it cannot be termed as an exploitation if they wish to convert to the religion of their partner and get married. The law and the courts could only interfere if there is a direct exploitation being caused to any third person,” it added. PTI UK SJK SA