29 Jan 2022 12:00 PM GMT
Deciding a Habeas Corpus petition, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh upheld the constitutional right of major persons to stay together, either by way of marriage or live-in relationship. Justice Nandita Dubey was essentially dealing with a petition moved by a husband who alleged that the parents of his wife have forcibly taken her to Banaras and have illegally detained her. The...
Deciding a Habeas Corpus petition, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh upheld the constitutional right of major persons to stay together, either by way of marriage or live-in relationship.
Justice Nandita Dubey was essentially dealing with a petition moved by a husband who alleged that the parents of his wife have forcibly taken her to Banaras and have illegally detained her. The Petitioner submitted that he married his wife with her consent and that she willingly embraced Islam.
The wife (corpus), via video conferencing, informed the Court that she is 19 years old and that she willingly married the Petitioner and converted to Islam. She made a categorical statement that she was never forced into conversion and whatever she has done was as per her own wishes.
She further stated that her parents and her grandparents have forcibly taken her to Banaras where she was beaten up and threatened constantly to give statements against the Petitioner. She pleaded before the Court that she wanted to go with the Petitioner as she has willingly married him.
Counsel for the state argued that the marriage was null and void pursuant to the provisions laid down by the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021. It was submitted that as per Section 3 of the Act, no person shall convert for the purpose of marriage and any conversion in contravention to this provision shall be deemed null and void. Therefore, a combined reading of Section 3 and Section 6 of the Act renders the said marriage null and void.
Rejecting the contention put forth by the state, the Court observed-
"Be that as it may, the petitioner and corpus both are major. No moral policing can be allowed in such matters where the two major persons are willing to stay together whether by way of marriage or in a live-in relationship, when the party to that arrangement is doing it willingly and not forced into it."
"The corpus before this Court has clearly stated that she had married the petitioner and wants to stay with him. The corpus is major person. Her age is not disputed by any of the parties. The Constitution gives a right to every major citizen of this country to live her or his life as per her or his own wishes. Under the circumstances, the objection raised by the counsel for the State and her prayer to send the corpus to Nari Niketan is rejected."
The Court directed the state and police authorities to handover the corpus to the Petitioner and to see that the couple reaches their residence safely. The police authorities were further directed to ensure that even in future, the couple is not threatened by the parents of the corpus.
Case Title: Guljar Khan Vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh And Others
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 21
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