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'Can A Person Convert To Another Religion Without Any Rule Or Procedure?' Rajasthan HC To Examine Converted Woman's Interfaith Marriage [Read Orders]

Apoorva Mandhani
3 Nov 2017 5:54 AM GMT
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The Rajasthan High Court, on Wednesday, questioned the conversion of a 22-year old woman to Islam as well as her interfaith marriage, before sending her to government-run Nari Niketan women's home in Jodhpur.

The woman, Payal Singhvi alias Arifa, had converted to Islam and had married one Mr. Faiz Modi in April this year. Her brother, Mr. Chirag Singhvi, however alleges that the conversion and marriage were forceful and that Mr. Modi had, in fact, abducted his sister.

Taking note of such allegations, the Court had, on Tuesday, directed registration of an FIR based on the complaint filed by her brother. While the Nikahnama was produced before the Court during the hearing on Wednesday, it opined that an investigation needed to be conducted, in order to ascertain the truthfulness of the conversion and the marriage.

"After perusing the documents submitted before us prima facie we are of the opinion that the investigation is required to be made for ascertaining the truthfulness of the documents...," the Court observed in this regard.

The Bench comprising Justice M.K. Garg and Justice G.K. Vyas then framed the following question for consideration: "After hearing the learned counsel for the petitioner and perusing all the documents produced before us to prove the fact of ‘Nikah’, we are of the opinion that very important question “whether without any procedure or rule conversion of religion can be changed or not so also in this case whether the fact of ‘Nikah’ of Payal Singhvi is established on the basis of self contradictory documents on record or not” is in question."

The Court also directed Station House Officer, Mr. Achal Singh, to provide adequate security to family members of both the parties. Further, the Additional Advocate General has been directed to file a reply within four days.

The matter has now been listed for further arguments on 7 November.

The case has resemblance to the ongoing case before Supreme Court regarding Hadiya’s conversion to Islam and her subsequent marriage to a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan. The Court is hearing a challenge to a judgment rendered by the Kerala High Court in May this year, wherein it had called the marriage a “sham” and had annulled it, directing her return to the protective custody of her Hindu parents.

Read the Order Here

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