The Allahabad High Court in a key verdict of inter-faith marriage has said two adults have the right to choose their life partner. The court said that the law allows two adults to live together, whether they are of the same or opposite sex. The court made it clear that no person or family could interfere in their peaceful life. Even the state cannot object to the relationship of two adults, said the court.
A bench comprising Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal ruled that two of its earlier verdicts which said that religious conversion solely for the purpose of a marriage was prohibited are incorrect and do not lay down “good law”.
In the verdict passed on November 11, the court observed, “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. Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals.”
Salamat Ansari, a resident of east UP’s Kushinagar, and Priyanka Kharwar married against her parents’ wishes in August last year. Priyanka converted to Islam and changed her name to “Alia” just before their wedding.
The same month, Priyanka’s parents filed an FIR or First Information Report against Salamat, accusing him of crimes like “kidnapping” and “abduction to compel a marriage”. They included the stringent POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), claiming that their daughter was a minor when she married.
The judgment comes at a time BJP-ruled states like UP, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana have talked about bringing laws to stop “Love jihad”, a pejorative used by right-wing groups to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women, which, they say, is a ruse to forcibly convert the women.