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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

‘Woman’s safety sole concern, not against interfaith marriages’: SC

The court also agreed to hear the woman, who filed an intervention application because her parents did not make her a party in the case.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2019 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Delhi
The apex court said it was only trying to secure her future in view of the contradictions highlighted by the petitioner.
The apex court said it was only trying to secure her future in view of the contradictions highlighted by the petitioner.(HT FILE)
         

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked a Muslim man to file an affidavit to prove his bone fides if he wanted to live with his Hindu wife, after the woman’s parents alleged that she was lured into the interfaith marriage.

The court stressed that its concern was the woman’s safety, not her religion. “We are only concerned only about her [the woman’s] future. We are not against inter-religious or inter-caste marriage,” justice Arun Mishra said.

“We have a duty; rest is your destiny,” he added, before remarking, “be a loyal husband.” At this, justice MR Shah, the other member of the bench added, “Not just a great husband. Be a great lover and loyal husband.”

The court also agreed to hear the woman, who filed an intervention application because her parents did not make her a party in the case.

The couple, from Chhattisgarh, were married in 2018after the man converted to Hinduism to be accepted by the woman’s family, according to woman’s parents.The woman’s parents claim that the man later reconverted to Islam, and have come to the top court against the Chhattisgarh high court’s order allowing their daughter to live with her husband if she wanted to.

This is the second round of litigation involving the couple and the woman’s parents. Last year, a bench led by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, had said the woman should live with her parents after she expressed her inclination to stay with them. At that time, a petition was filed by the man on the grounds that the two were married.

The woman stayed with her parents until the police allegedly came to their house and took the woman away, according to the woman’s parents. “Around 70 policemen came and took her away”, submitted senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the woman’s parents.

The case then went to the Chattisgarh high court which, in its order, said the woman has expressed her willingness to live with her husband. This was challenged by the parents in the Supreme Court.

Rohatgi said the girl was of “unsound mind” and that the parents doubted the credentials of the man she was purportedly married to. He contended that the conversion to Hinduism by the husband was a “sham” since the marriage certificate was in his original Muslim name.

The judges said they would examine the matter. When senior advocate Gopal Sanakaranarayanan, appearing for the woman, objected, the court said: “We are not against such relationships etc. but we are only on how to protect the woman.”

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the husband, said he had instructions to say that the documents produced in the court were not real. At this, the court again said it was not against inter-faith marriages. “Even marriages between high caste and low caste are welcome. It’s socialism,” said justice Mishra.

Sankaranarayanan argued that there was no need to portray women as vulnerable and in need of protection from someone. But the court said it was only trying to secure her future in view of the contradictions highlighted by the petitioner.

Apart from the husband, the court has also sought the state government’s views in the case. The woman, meanwhile, filed an intervention petition because she was not party to the case. The court allowed this.

The bench issued notices to the woman and the Chhattisgarh government, seeking their replies by September 24.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 00:02 IST