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As TMC MP Nusrat Jahan declares her marriage invalid, questions arise whether she lied to the parliament on her marital status

Nusrat Jahan says her marriage with Nikhil Jain not valid both in Turkey and India, but her official records in Lok Sabha shows she is married to Nikhil Jain

Actress-turned-politician Nusrat Jahan on Wednesday released a statement on the speculation of her separation from husband Nikhil Jain. In a detailed statement, the Bengali actress claimed that there is no need to divorce her ‘husband’ as their wedding in Turkey was not valid both in Turkey and India. She also revealed that she has separated from her husband Nikhil Jain a long back.

Saying that her marriage was not carried under any law, the actress said she does not need a divorce from him as the marriage is invalid in India. As it was an interfaith marriage, it needed to be registered in India under the Special Marriage Act. But the couple did not get their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act, hence their marriage did not have any legal backing in the country, the actress claimed.

“Being on foreign land, as per Turkish Marriage Regulation, the ceremony is invalid. Moreover, since it was an interfaith marriage, it requires validation under Special Marriage Act in India, which did not happen. As per the court of law, it is not a Marriage, but a relationship or a live-in relationship,” the actress said on Wednesday.

Hence, according to the actress, the question of divorce does not arise. “Our separation happened long back, but I did not speak about it as I intended to keep my private life to myself. Thus, my actions must not be questioned based on ‘separation’, by the media or anybody I am not related to. The alleged marriage is not legal, valid and tenable; and thus, was not a marriage at all in the eye of law,” a portion of her media statement read.

The couple had got married in 2019 in the Turkish town of Bodrum after Nusrat Jahan made her political debut by winning the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

What the laws say

Nusrat Jahan said that her wedding with Nikhil Jain in Turkey was not valid both in Turkey and India. Lets see what the relevant laws in the two countries say.

Due to the availability of picturesque locations like beaches, mountains, resorts etc that make a perfect wedding album, a large number of people go to Turkey to solemnise their weddings. According to the Turkish Marriage Legislation and regulations, a Turkish national and a foreigner, or two foreigners with different nationalities, or two foreigners with the same nationalities can get married in the country. However, such weddings must be conducted by Turkish marriage authorities, the Marriage Offices run by local municipalities. In the case of two foreigners of the same nationality, like in the case of Nusrat Jahan and Nikhil Jain, the same also can be conducted by their own Country’s Embassy or Consulate.

The Turkish laws specifically mention that religious marriages are not recognised by law, there has to be civil marriage with appropriate authorities.

While the reports and photographs of the famous wedding suggest that they had a wedding as per religious rituals, there was not report of them getting the marriage registered either with Turkish authorities or with the Indian Embassy. Therefore, it seems Nusrat Jahan is correct that her wedding is not valid in Turkey.

Now coming to the law in India, the Special Marriage Act can be used by couples of different religions to get married without one of them converting to the religion of the other. This act allows people to conduct civil marriage without religious rituals. It is clear that Nusrat Jahan and Nikhil Jain didn’t register their wedding in India under the Special Marriage Act. Neither of them also converted their religions to get married under religious rituals as per Hindu Marriage Act or Muslim Marriage Act. Therefore, it can be said that thy didn’t marry in India at all, and their wedding in Turkey was not valid.

However, this creates another issue, if their wedding was not valid, was Nusrat Jahan, a member of the parliament, violating laws by misrepresentation her marital status.

Lok Sabha records say she is married

The details of Nusrat Jahan on the Lok Sabha website says that her marital status is married. It says her husband’s name is Nikhil Jain, and the date of marriage is recorded as 19 Jun 2019.

Now that the TMC MP has said her marriage was not valid, and which seems to be correct, it means she had provided wrong details about herself in Lok Sabha. It is notable that while taking oath as the MP, she has used the name Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain, but the surname ‘Jain’ is missing from her details on the Lok Sabha website.

Netizens question her oath

As Nusrat Jahan began to distance herself from her marriage citing legal technicalities, social media users began to question the authenticity of her statements saying that the actress had openly flaunted her marriage all along and added that she cannot now claim that she was just in a relationship with Nikhil Jain.

Netizens reminded the actress about how she had taken her oath in the Parliament as “Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain”. After her victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the newly-elected Lok Sabha had taken her oath in the name of “Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain”. This clearly means that in her oath, she had said that she had married Nikhil Jain, which was not a valid wedding.

Citing the same, social media users have begun to ask whether she lied on the floor of the house.

Tech entrepreneur Arvind Gupta wondered if she had taken the oath under a wrong name.

Another social media user noted that Nusrat Jahan had appeared with Nikhil Jain by adorning Sindhoor on her forehead in front of goddess Durga after her marriage. However, she now claims that Nikhil Jain was not her husband, said another user confronting the actor-turned-politician whether she was insulting Bengali people by uttering such lies.

Shubangi Sharma asked Nusrat Jahan whether the marriage with Nikhil Jain was just another ploy to seek political mileage in the state and questioned whether it was a project carried out by political strategist Prashant Kishor to woo Hindu voters in Bengal.

It is pertinent to note that Prashant Kishor was the advisor for Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in the run-up to the 2021 Assembly elections.

Another social media user asked whether Nusrat Jahan’s marriage with Nikhil Jain was just another drama to get Hindu votes in the elections.

With Nusrat Jahan citing Indian laws to claim that she was ‘legally’ never married to Nikhil Jain, instead, she was just in relationship akin to ‘live-in’, the actress-turned-politician has now opened a pandora’s box in terms of interpretation of marriage laws in the country.

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