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SC Constitution Bench To Decide On Parsi Woman’s Religious Identity After Inter-Religion Marriage [Read Order]

The constitution bench of the Supreme Court will decide the religious identity of a Parsi woman after her marriage under the Special Marriage Act.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra referred a matter to the constitution bench, which will assemble on Tuesday to hear five constitutional issues, and said this matter will be listed as item six in the cause list.

The CJI-led bench was hearing a petition filed by Goolrakh Gupta, a Parsi Zoroastrian woman, raised the legal issue whether she gets automatically converted to Hindu religion after her marriage to a Hindu man.

While referring her SLP filed in 2012 against the Gujarat High Court order to a larger bench, the CJI said the court has to see “if the doctrine of merger will apply in that case and if her religion is merged with that of her husband”.

It will also consider whether the five-judge bench’s recent judgment in the triple talaq matter can have bearing in this case also.

Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Sidharth Luthra appeared for the petitioner in the case.

According to the woman, she was denied entry to the Tower of Silence for the funeral of her father and that there was no law in India which said the wife must adopt her husband’s religion.

The Gujarat High Court had held that a Parsi woman’s religion is automatically converted to Hinduism after marrying a Hindu man under the Special Marriage Act.

The High Court of Gujarat in the impugned judgment, the held that

  1.  a Parsi woman by virtue of contracting a civil marriage with a non Parsi man under the Special Marriage Act ceases to be a Parsi;
  2. That it was not possible for the High Court to decide on the evidence available as to whether religious practices prohibiting non Parsi from entering Agiaris is an integral part of Parsi Zoroastrian or not; and
  3.  No writ deserves to be issued to respondents at this stage. According to the dissenting opinion, a woman who is born Parsi Zoroastrian does not cease to be a Parsi merely by virtue of solemnizing the marriage under the Act of 1954 with a man belonging to another religion concurred in part with regard to lack of maintainability. However, the dissenting opinion concurred with regard to lack of maintainability.

Read the Order Here

Read the notes submitted on behalf of the petitioner

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