Conversion to Islam Irrelevant For Giving Protection To Couple: HC

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The Allahabad High Court on Friday, 11 June, noted that the religious conversion of a woman to Islam would not be a relevant factor when it comes to securing the liberty and life of the couple.

While granting relief to a couple seeking protection from threats, the court directed the police and the family members not to interfere with the married life of the couple.

The petition was moved by Yashi Devi (aged about 20 years) and Guchhan Khan (aged about 40 years) who entered into marriage on 11 January 2021, after Yashi converted to Islam.

Conversion Should Not Be Forced

The Bench of Justice Salil Kumar Rai, however, said that the rule may not apply if the conversion to Islam was not voluntary, but forced.

"“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 regarding forcible conversion.”" - Allahabad High Court

Having clarified that, the court asked the couple to approach the Senior Superintendent of Police of the district, who shall take all steps required to ensure that the petitioners’ life and liberty are not interfered with.

"“Senior Superintendent of Police shall take all steps as may be required in law to ensure that petitioners’ life and liberty are not interfered with, keeping in view the directions issued in Lata Singh case.”" - Allahabad High Court

Married Couples Have Right To Live Without Interference

The court relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Lata Singh case to reiterate that adult married couples have a right to live peacefully without any interference.

"“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 any one 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.”" - Allahabad High Court

What Happened In Lata Singh Case?

In the Lata Singh case, a young woman who had married a man of another caste against her family’s wishes moved the court seeking protection of her husband, who was held captive and threatened by her brother.

While providing relief to the petitioner, the Supreme Court held that people perpetrating such violence and harassment should be severely punished.

The apex court held that the petitioner is a major and was a major at all times. Hence, she is free to marry anybody and there is no bar to an inter-caste marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act or any other law. So, the petitioner and her husband or husband’s relatives did not commit any offence.

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