The Allahabad High Court, in its latest judgment, has dismissed the writ petition of an interfaith marriage couple who asked for police protection and for the court to intervene and direct their families to stop interfering in their married life. While hearing a case, a single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi observed that religious conversion just for the sake of marriage is illegal. Saying so the court dismissed the plea made by the newly married couple.
The decision came after the Court noted that the girl was a Muslim by birth and she has converted her religion to Hinduism, just a month before the marriage was solemnized. This clearly reveals that the conversion has taken place only for the purpose of marriage, said Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi told the petitioner Priyanshi alias Samreen and her partner.
Referring to the case Noor Jahan Begum @Anjali Mishra & Anr. v. State of U.P. & Ors(2014), in which it was observed that conversion for the sole purpose of marriage could not be accepted, the court rejected the petition saying that it cannot be entertained under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
In 2014, the Allahabad High Court had rejected the petition in the case of Noor Jahan Begum pleading to provide protection to the married couple as the girl was a Hindu in the case and married after converting to Islam. The issue then was whether the conversion of a Hindu girl only for getting married to a Muslim boy that too when she doesn’t know anything about Islam, can be considered valid? The High Court dismissed the petitions stating them as invalid.
The court also referred to a judgement passed by the Supreme Court in Lily Thomas vs. Union of India case where the apex court had observed that the conversion of religion can be held valid only if the religion is adapted with full faith and not just for the purpose of achieving something.
“Conversion of a person to Islam can only be considered bona fide if he/ she is of sound mind and major and is ready to embrace Islam by his/ her free consent and the faith which he/she holds in Allah or Prophet Muhammad. If the conversion is only to claim rights or to avoid marriage or achieve some selfish motive and nothing inspired by religious feelings, the conversion can’t be said as a bona fide. Conversion is valid only if it involves honesty and heart to accept the new religion and leaving behind the original religion,” the SC had observed.