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"Marital Dispute Given 'Love-Jihad' Angle By Religio-Political Groups": Wife, Husband Move Gujarat HC To Quash FIR Under 'Anti-Love Jihad' Law

Sparsh Upadhyay
9 Sep 2021 12:58 PM GMT
Marital Dispute Given Love-Jihad Angle By Religio-Political Groups: Wife, Husband Move Gujarat HC To Quash FIR Under Anti-Love Jihad Law
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The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the State Government which objected to a joint plea filed by an Interfaith married couple seeking quashing of an FIR under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 ['Anti Love Jihad' law] allegedly registered by the Wife against her husband.The woman categorically submitted before the Court that the FIR had...

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the State Government which objected to a joint plea filed by an Interfaith married couple seeking quashing of an FIR under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 ['Anti Love Jihad' law] allegedly registered by the Wife against her husband.

The woman categorically submitted before the Court that the FIR had been registered by Police bringing in the Love-Jihad angle on their own and that it contained grossly incorrect and untrue facts, particularly regarding the allegations of forceful conversion.

The Bench of Justice Ilesh J Vora was further told by the woman that she wished to live with her husband as a married couple and therefore, the FIR which was registered against her husband under the 'Anti Love-Jihad' law be quashed.

However, the State objected to the quashing of the FIR, therefore, the Court issued notice to the State Government to seek its response on the issue.

The matter in brief

As per the contents of the FIR, the woman had earlier alleged that her husband, his parents, and the priests who performed the matrimonial ceremony had forcibly converted her religion through marriage.

However, moving before the High Court in June 2021 with a plea to quash FIR, she/wife claimed that she had approached a local police station in Vadodara to report petty and trivial matrimonial discord, however, the police, on their own, brought in the "love jihad" angle and they inserted the allegations in the FIR which she did not even make.

"...certain religiopolitical groups intervened in the matter and communalized the said issue by bringing in the love jihad angle, also on account of the overzealousness of the police officers involved, facts and offences which were never mentioned or alleged by the informant came to be inserted in the FIR," she stated in her petition.

The petition also states that the woman had never complained of the offences pertaining to IPC, Freedom of Religion Act and Atrocities Act and still, the FIR was registered under Section 323, 498 (A), 376 (2) (n), 377, 312, 313, 504, 506 (2), 120B and 419 of IPC and Sections 4, 4 (a), 4 (2) (a), 4 (2) (b) and 5 of Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 and certain offences under the SC/ST Prevention of atrocities act.

It has also been stated in the plea that in the FIR, "extremely personal details" and reference to oral and anal intercourse, allegations of taking her obscene pictures, causing forcible conversion were added without her consent.

In fact, her plea also mentions the fact that she and her husband, both were in a relationship for 2 years and were aware of each other's religion before they decided to marry each other as per the Islamic rites.

It has also been averred in the plea that her marriage was firstly notarised and subsequently it was registered under the Special Marriage Act and that the girl's father stood as a witness in their marriage.

Last month, the Gujarat High Court passed an interim order stating that the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, will not apply to inter-faith marriages which take place without force, allurement, or fraudulent means.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav passed the interim order to protect the parties of inter-faith marriage from being unnecessarily harassed.

"After recording the preliminary submissions and arguments advanced, we have directed as follows. We are therefore of the opinion that pending further hearing, the rigours of Section 3, 4, 4A to 4C, 5, 6, and 6A shall not operate merely because marriage is solemnized by a person of one religion with another religion without force or allurement or fraudulent means and such marriages cannot be termed as marriages for the purposes of unlawful conversion. The above interim order is provided only on the lines of the arguments made by the learned Advocate General Mr.Trivedi and to protect the parties of inter-faith marriage from being unnecessarily harassed".

Case title - Divyaben W/O Sameer Abdulbhai Qureshi D/O Vijaybhai Jethabhai Rohit v. State Of Gujarat

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