Inter-faith Marriage: Conversion controversy resurfaces in Supreme Court

Inter-faith Marriage: Conversion controversy resurfaces in Supreme Court

Murali Krishnan

A potentially controversial case on inter-faith marriage has resurfaced in the Supreme Court. The parents of a woman who married a Muslim man have approached the Apex Court against an order of the Chhattisgarh High Court.

The dispute arose from an inter-faith marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man. The Muslim man had converted to Hinduism, though the parents of the woman have contended that he has now reconverted back to Islam.

When the matter first came to the Supreme Court last. year, a Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had decided that she should go with the parents, based on her intention of doing so.

Subsequently, she was staying with her parents, when one day, the police allegedly came to their house and took the woman away.

“Around 70 policemen came and took her away”, submitted Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi today, appearing for the woman’s parents.

The matter reached Chhattisgarh High Court, which apparently recorded in its order that the woman had expressed her willingness to go with the husband.

“The High Court has recorded in its order that she wants to go with her husband. We have challenged that”, submitted Rohatgi.

Rohatgi also submitted that the conversion by the husband to Hinduism was a sham, and that he has converted back to Islam.

The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah said that it would examine the matter.

The Bench also made some remarks, to which Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the woman, objected. The Bench remarked,

“We are not against such relationships etc but we are only on how to protect the woman.”

“She does not need any protection except from her father”, replied Sankaranarayanan.

Both Sankaranarayanan and Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi, who was appearing for the husband, adverted to the judgment passed by three-judge Bench of Supreme Court in the Hadiya case. 

The Bench, however, said that it was not on the law. Instead, it was inclined to look into how the future would pan out for the woman.

“We are not on the law. What if husband leaves you? We are only concerned about her future. We are not against inter-religious or inter-caste marriage. Such marriages should be encouraged”, the Bench said, while also stating that many times, women are left in the lurch by men who enter into such marriages with mala fide intention.

The Bench, therefore, sought the response of the husband who has to filed an affidavit indicating his bonafides. The order reads:

“As prayed for by the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the husband, let an affidavit be filed within three days from today indicating his bonafides and with respect to the future in order to secure the interest of the girl.”

Since the woman was not made a party to the petition by her parents, she has now filed am intervention application, and the same was allowed by the Court.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appeared for the husband assisted by Advocate-on-Record Pallav Mongia. Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appeared for the girl along with Advocate-on-record Ashish Virmani. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented the parents assisted by AoR Kaustubh Shukla.

[Read Order]

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news