Rajasthan High Court concludes hearing on inter-religion marriage, reserves judgement
The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday concluded the hearing on the religious conversion and inter-faith marriage without any law and reserved its judgement.
The high court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Chirag Singhvi, who alleges that his sister – Payal Singhvi, who is now known as Aarifa – was coerced into converting to Islam and that her marriage papers are forged. The police had produced Payal alias Arifa before the court on November 7, when the court had allowed Payal (22) to live according to her own wish. The state government had, however, asked the court to clarify the legal status of conversion and inter-faith marriage.
During the hearing, the state additional advocate general, SK Vyas, told the court that the Rajasthan Religious freedom Bill was passed in 2008. The Attorney General of India had made objections about some provisions of the bill. Vyas said that the objections had been removed. Advocate General has confirmed the bill according to the Constitution and in accordance with the orders given by the Supreme Court from time to time. He said that the state government has recently requested the central government to get the President’s approval.
Mahesh Bora, counsel for Payal’s husband Faiez Modi told the court that Arifa (Payal) and Faiez are adults and they got married by mutual consent. He cited the Supreme Court’s judgment and said that in the hearing of habeas corpus petition, the court can only order the corpus to be produced. If the corpus is an adult, he or she can live with anyone according to the person’s wish.
Bora added Aarifa has been living with her husband with the permission of the court, so the habeas corpus petition has now become infructuous. He said that the bill passed in the Legislative Assembly is pending with the President, so the high court cannot issue any guideline on change of religion and inter-faith marriage. The petitioner’s counsel MR Singhvi, while referring to the Supreme Court judgement, said that there can be no change in religion without adopting a legal process.
At present, there is no law on religious freedom in Rajasthan, so it is unconstitutional to claim that religion change only on the basis of an affidavit. He requested the court to give necessary directions in this regard. After hearing all the parties, the high court reserved the judgement.
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