SC dismisses plea against Allahabad HC order which held 'conversion for marriage is unacceptable'

The plea sought a declaration that the observations made by the high court are incorrect in view of the freedom of religion and freedom to choose a life partner as guaranteed under the principles of the Constitution of India

Press Trust of India December 16, 2020 23:47:24 IST
SC dismisses plea against Allahabad HC order which held 'conversion for marriage is unacceptable'

File image of the Supreme Court of India. PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea seeking to challenge Allahabad High Court order by which it had held that “conversion just for the purpose of marriage is unacceptable”.

The top court said that the division bench of the High Court has subsequently disapproved and set aside the impugned order.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that it sees no reason to interfere as it has been accepted by the petitioner that the division bench of the Allahabad High Court has subsequently set aside the order dated 23 September.

At the outset, the bench asked petitioner advocate Aldanish Rein that why cannot approach the High Court on the issue as his petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is not the appropriate remedy to set aside the order of the High Court.

Rein submitted that the top court can say that the declaration made by the High Court is not correct.

The bench told Rein that there is no need to labour on something like this and for any substantial relief, the High Court could be approached.

“If the High Court doesn't give you relief, then you can come here,” the bench said, adding that Article 32 petition does not lie in this case. Rein submitted that the High Court order triggered the Uttar Pradesh government to pass an ordinance and hundreds of interfaith couples are being harassed every day due to this.

The bench said, “You are spoiling your own case by pressing on a point which is not tenable. You are unnecessarily pressing this”.

On asked about the order of the division bench, the lawyer said “Yes, the division bench of the High Court has said that this declaration is not correct”.

The bench said, “Once the division bench has held this declaration to be bad, then why do you want the Supreme Court to declare the same”.

In his plea, Rein said, “Being concerned for the freedom to practice any religion and the freedom to choose a life partner and further being concerned with the wrong precedent set by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in…, the present petitioner is approaching this Court in the capacity of an Officer of this Court through the instant Public Interest Litigation”.

The lawyer said that the order of the High Court has not only left the poor couple at the mercy of the offending family members, the police, the vigilantes, and the hate monger religious associations but has also laid a wrong precedent that the inter-religious marriages cannot be solemnized at the instance of conversion of religion by either of the partner.

“That undoubtedly the couples of interfaith should adopt The Special Marriage Act, 1954 to get married but the cumbersome process and the unreasonable provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 makes it very difficult for a runaway couple to abide by the said provisions resulting in religious marriages after conversion to the faith of either of the partner,” the plea said.

Rein submitted in his plea that the petitioner has seen inter-religion Special Marriage Act Marriages in his family and therefore is aware of the hardships that an inter-religion couple has to face in order to get married.

“That practically the Special Marriage Act is only meant for couples where both the families are in agreement of such marriages or at least are not out there to harm the couple,” the plea said.

It said that the “choice of religion is a personal choice of a person. If the Court does not allow a person to freely choose his religion, it amounts to a violation of his or her fundamental right as guaranteed under the Constitution of India”.

The plea sought a declaration that the observations made by the High Court are incorrect in view of the freedom of religion and freedom to choose a life partner as guaranteed under the principles of the Constitution of India.

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