By Arré Bench Nov. 24, 2020
In an important judgement, the Allahabad High Court has overturned the “conversion only for marriage” judgement and added that the right to choose a partner is a fundamental right. This is a big win for interfaith love, especially at a time when laws are being passed over “love jihad”.
As the debate around love jihad rages on, the Allahabad High Court has delivered a timely and welcome judgement. A case filed against a Muslim man by the parents of his wife, who converted to Islam last year to marry him, has been cancelled by the court. The HC overturned a previous decision by a single-bench judge that said religious conversions for the sake of marriage are unacceptable, saying that the verdict was “bad in law”.
Allahabad HC div bench shoots down as 'bad in law' the dodgy judgment @myogiadityanath had latched on to – that you can't convert 'only' to get married. Sorry Bishtji, being an adult in a democracy means being free to convert for whatever reason you want!https://t.co/BfyuVhNCLC
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) November 24, 2020
“Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals,” the court observed in a verdict.
We do not see Priyanka 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. Allahabad High Court
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) November 24, 2020
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
"To disregard the choice of a person who is of the age of majority would not only be antithetic to the freedom of choice of a grown up individual but would also be a threat to the concept of unity in diversity." #lovejihaad #LoveJihadLaw pic.twitter.com/MUJuhkwdMD
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) November 24, 2020
“We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari 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. The Courts and the Constitutional Courts in particular are enjoined to uphold the life and liberty of an individual guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” said a two-judge bench.
Salamat Ansari and Priyanka Kharwar got married in August last year. The marriage was against the wishes of Priyanka’s parents. She converted to Islam and changed her name to “Alia” just before the wedding. In the same month, Priyanka’s parents filed an FIR against Salamat, accusing him of “kidnapping” and “abduction to compel a marriage”. They included the stringent POCSO Act, claiming that their daughter was a minor when she married.
“Allahabad High Court Cancels 2019 FIR Against Uttar Pradesh Man – We Don't See Couple As Hindu-Muslim” Kudos to the two Judges for upholding the Law & our Constitution!! We need Judges like them in the Supreme Court? https://t.co/H6c3VTS33h
— Mona Ambegaonkar (@MonaAmbegaonkar) November 24, 2020
The High Court ruled on Salamat’s petition requesting that the FIR be cancelled. “The right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty,” the High Court said in the 14-page order, rejecting arguments by the UP government as well as the woman’s parents.
The verdict has been celebrated for its tone as well as timing, as the love jihad debate has taken centre stage in political discourse. Many prominent women from media to politics praised the judgement for making it clear that adult women are free to make choices in their life.
— Gargi Rawat (@GargiRawat) November 24, 2020
On the concept of so called #LoveJihadLaw by the Allahabad high court . #lovejihaad. Our nation is a democratic nation and the real beauty of it is its Secular fabric . It’s plurality. it’s Unity in Diversity . https://t.co/J0qtY3gTrd
— Nagma (@nagma_morarji) November 24, 2020
Good for the Allahabad High Court. There are pockets of reason and respect for constitutional rights in India yet. https://t.co/Xtz2IQFreF
— Mira Kamdar (@mirakamdar) November 24, 2020
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) November 24, 2020
The Allahabad High Court has also been praised for being the constitutional watchdog in several cases and delivering sound judgements.
From hauling up Indira Gandhi for electoral malpractice, to reiterating the rights of adults in a democratic nation – the Allahabad High Court more often than not being the constitutional watchdog… waiting for the SC to react to this. https://t.co/DcHNEYKYL2
— Akash Banerjee (@TheDeshBhakt) November 24, 2020
Thank you so much Allahabad High Court. There are a lot of reasons and respect for constitutional rights in India yet. 🇮🇳🇮🇳👍👍#AllahabadHighCourt is an exceptional. 👏👏@barandbench @myogiadityanath @myogioffice#lovejihaad #LoveJihadLaw #LoveWithoutBoundaries #up https://t.co/Ak096FZsZQ
— Er. Abhishek Kumar Yadav (@yabhishek2296) November 24, 2020
The love jihad debate will continue to go on in polarising speeches and targeted hashtag campaigns, but is heartening to know that the courts are still around to protect the rights of citizens.