‘Inter-Faith Marriages Are Good For Society, Should Be Encouraged; But Girl’s Interest Should Be Kept In Mind’: SC

The Supreme Court of India (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/GettyImages)

In the case of a Chhattisgarh marriage being dubbed as ‘Love Jihad’ case, Supreme Court has said that inter-faith marriages are good for society and should be encouraged. However, the court added that the interest of the woman should also be kept in mind.

The controversy arose after a Muslim man converted to Hinduism last February to marry a Hindu woman. The man, however, converted back to Islam after the marriage, the father of the girl alleges, saying that the man had converted from Islam to Hinduism on the basis of forged documents to fool the woman into marrying him.

When the father approached the court last year, the woman agreed to go back to her parents’ home and court passed the order. Later, the husband filed a complaint and the woman was put in a Sakhi centre. She subsequently changed her mind and told the High Court that she wanted to live with her husband. High Court passed the order in her favour, after which, the father approached Supreme Court.

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Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the petitioner said that the conversion was a sham and man had converted back to Islam after marriage, and pleaded the court to examine the issue as there is a racket in the garb of inter-religious marriage.

The bench then remarked that they were not against inter-caste and interreligious marriages as they were good for the society. “We are not against inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. Such marriages should be encouraged,” the bench was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

The judges however also expressed concern about the girl’s interest saying that the marriage should be bonafide, a girl should not be made to suffer in such cases, and the man must be loyal to her.

“We are concerned about her future and on the issue of how to protect her interest. The interests if women should be protected,” the bench added.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan from the other side told the court that the girl didn’t need any protection as she wanted to live with her husband.

The court subsequently asked the husband to respond to the allegations levelled in the father’s petition. “Have you changed your name? Have you taken all legal steps to change the name?” the Bench asked the husband’s counsel and senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi.

Dwivedi quoted Hadiya case and said that the court cannot intervene in the choice of a woman to decide whom to live her life with. He said that the court could summon the girl for her response, and that he will file affidavit on bona fide within three days.

The Chhattisgarh government said the plea has been moved by “disgruntled parents”.

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