No Interference if an Adult marries as per her own choice and Converts: Calcutta High Court

December 23, 2020, The Liberacy:- Calcutta High Court, while hearing a plea by a father who claimed that his daughter was forced to marry a man of other religion and was converted thereafter, gave a statement that might change a perspective while looking at inter-religion marriages.
To this plea, Calcutta High Court observed that it is not correct to interfere in any adults’ life if she has married to anyone as per her own choice and decides to convert to another religion following that.

A 19-year old woman married a person of her choice, who belonged to another religion. Her father enrolled a petition claiming that his daughter’s statement before the magistrate was recorded in an atmosphere where she was under pressure and not comfortable.

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Calcutta High Court on Love Jihad
Calcutta High Court on Love Jihad

An FIR was filed before the police by the married woman’s father, acting on which the police produced her before the magistrate to record a statement that she married on her own will

“If an adult marries as per her choice and decides to convert and not return to her paternal house, there can be no interference in the matter,” observed by a division bench consisting of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee.

The Calcutta High Court, on fathers’ plea, has directed the woman to meet the senior-most additional district judge in Tahatta. High court even ordered that sufficient care must be taken to ensure womans’ safety and free from any coercion or influence from anyone.

Lawyer Susmita Saha Dutta, who represents the woman’s father in the case, said that the woman’s husband was present in the court premises at Tehatta when the woman appeared before the judge and suspected any undue influence.

Looking at the concerns raised by the father, the court directed that the woman will meet the additional public prosecutor Saibal Bapuli in his chamber in Kolkata and while the meeting has proceeded, there should be no one in the chamber, including her husband and other family members.

The ongoing issue related to forced conversion of women to other religions and false claims of religion before marriage has raised many questions related to “Love Jihad” and laws related to its implementation. The bigger concern is about a threat to real marriages, not based on any false claims but on their own will, and how a sinking ship might take the innocent ones down with it.

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