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, said the court
Published: 24 Nov 2020,
The Allahabad High Court on Monday struck down its previous judgement, which ruled that religious conversion “just for the purpose of marriage” was unacceptable, reported Live Law.ADVERTISING
“Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals,” the High Court said
“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.
The judgement holds significance as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had referred to the judgement on November 1, as the basis for a new law that would criminalise “love jihad”. Following the suit, other Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states like Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam announced that they were considering similar laws.
A division bench of Justices Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi on Monday held that neither of the two judgements, the one passed in September, and the other in 2014, that made this observation dealt with the matters of life and liberty of “two mature individuals in choosing a partner, or their right to freedom of choice as to whom they would like to live” with. “We hold the judgements in Noor Jahan and Priyanshi as not laying as good law,” the Allahabad High Court said on Monday.
High Court order essentially said that it does not matter whether a conversion is valid or not. The right of two adults to live together cannot be encroached upon by the state or others.
On September 29 2020, a bench of Justice Mahesh Tripathi had dismissed a writ petition filed by a married couple seeking police protection, noting that the woman was a Muslim and had converted to Hinduism purely in order to get married. Though the judgement was delivered in September, it was reported in the media in October. Tripathi cited a 2014 order passed by the same court, where a batch of writ petitions were dismissed in a similar case.
In the Noor Jahan Begum case of 2014, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a batch of writ petitions filed by a couple to seek protection as they had tied the knot after the woman converted from Hinduism to Islam and then performed the nikah or marriage. “Whether conversion of the religion of a Hindu girl at the instance of a Muslim boy, without any knowledge of Islam or faith and belief in Islam and merely for the purpose of marriage [nikah] is valid,” the court had questioned then.