Nobody can interfere in peaceful life of two adults: Allahabad HC
The Allahabad high court has granted police protection to an interfaith couple, while asserting that nobody can interfere in the peaceful life of two adults residing together out of their own free will.
Hearing the plea of a Muslim man and a woman who converted from Hinduism to Islam, Justice Saral Srivastava said, “The court has repeatedly held that where the two individuals having attained the age of majority, are living together, nobody is entitled to interfere in their peaceful life.”
The 22-year-old woman and her 23-year-old husband said they were adults and furnished documents reflecting that they were born in 1998 and 1997, respectively. In the writ petitions, the woman said she decided to convert to Islam on her own will and later solemnised her marriage with the man. They sought protection from their family, and no interference in their married life.
The observation holds significance in the backdrop of the recently passed Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. The ordinance prescribes a jail term up to 10 years and fine up to ₹25,000 for conversion under marriage, fraud, coercion or enticement. The law came into force days after chief minister Yogi Adityanath promised to fight against “love jihad”, a term used by some Hindu groups to describe relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women.
Several activists and legal experts argue that the law could be used to target Muslims and infringed on the fundamental rights to equality, freedom of religion, and life and personal liberty. However, on Thursday, the Uttar Pradesh government defended the ordinance in the Allahabad high court, asserting that community interest trumps an individual’s right to choose a life partner and the foremost duty of a secular state is to protect citizens from unlawful conversions. “When there is fear psychosis spread in the community at large and the community itself is endangered and succumbs to the pressure resulting in forceful conversion…it becomes necessary that the interest of the community as a whole requires protection and no microanalysis of individual interest can be looked into,” the government’s affidavit read.