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"High Court Held It As Bad Law": Supreme Court Rejects Plea Against Allahabad High Court's Order Disapproving "Religious Conversion For Marriage"

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
16 Dec 2020 2:52 PM GMT
High Court Held It As Bad Law: Supreme Court Rejects Plea Against Allahabad High Courts Order Disapproving Religious Conversion For Marriage
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A three judge bench of the Supreme Court bench including Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice. AS Bopanna and Justice. V Ramasubramanian dismissed the petition filed by Advocate Aldanish Rein for setting aside an Order passed by Allahabad High Court which held that conversion solely for the purpose of marriage are not valid in the eyes of Law. The Allahabad High Court, while...

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A three judge bench of the Supreme Court bench including Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice. AS Bopanna and Justice. V Ramasubramanian dismissed the petition filed by Advocate Aldanish Rein for setting aside an Order passed by Allahabad High Court which held that conversion solely for the purpose of marriage are not valid in the eyes of Law.

The Allahabad High Court, while referring to the Noor Jahan Case dismissed the writ petition praying for protection of an inter faith married couple by seeking directions of police protections towards the safety and security of the couple.

Subsequently a Division Bench of the High Court in Salamat Ansari Vs State of UP held that Noor Jahan Case not laying good law.

According to the petition filed by Advocate Aldanish Rein, the impugned order passed by the High Court is bad in law and serves as a 'wrong precedent' by declaring that inter faith marriage between consenting adults cannot be solemnised by way of conversion solely for the purpose of marriage. He also prayed that the order would ultimately leave the intending inter faith couples at the mercy of their families and other hate mongering organizations which might lead to a threat to their safety. According to Adv. Aldanish "The order triggered the State of UP to pass an Ordinance due to which hundreds of couples have been harassed over the past month."

The bench showed its reluctance in interfering with the order of the High Court and suggested the Petitioner to exhaust his appropriate remedy by approaching the High Court and not under Art. 32 of the Constitution. "Why don't you go to the High Court? Art. 32 is not an appropriate remedy to set aside an order of the High Court. Unless we make the order of the High Court under our jurisdiction, how can we correct it? If you want substantial relief, go to the High Court. if they do not do anything, then come here. Read the Law, Art. 32 does not lie." CJI remarked.

Despite the Court's reluctance, Adv. Aldanish requested the bench to consider the impugned order. According to his arguments, the impugned order is supported by a dissenting opinion given by Justice Hidayatullah in the Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar case. He submitted that the opinion rendered that in extraordinary circumstances, the Court should declare the order as a bad law.

"Read the judgment. Read Justice Krishna Iyer's view. You can seek approval of the Court to file an SLP when you are not an affected party. Does Justice Hidayatullah's judgment say that Art. 32 can be used to challenge an order? Show us. If it doesn't, we will impose heavy cost on you." CJI cautioned the petitioner.

The bench dismissed the petition by recording the petitioner's admission that the impugned order has been held as bad in law by a Division Bench of Allahabad High Court. "We see no reason to interfere with the order passed by the High Court." The bench ordered.

Landmark Judgment of Allahabad High Court in Salamat Ansari Vs State of UP

In September 2020, in the case of Priyanshi, The single Bench referred to a 2014 judgment in Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra & Anr. v. State of U.P. & Ors., in which it was observed that conversion just for the purpose of marriage is unacceptable.

In Noor Jahan Begum, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a batch of Writ Petitions which were filed praying for protection as a married couple as they had tied the knot after the girls got their religion converted from Hindu to Islam and then performed the Nikah. The issue considered in the said case was "Whether conversion of religion of a Hindu girl at the instance of a Muslim boy, without any knowledge of Islam or faith and belief in Islam and merely for the purpose of Marriage (Nikah) is valid?"

The High Court in the instant matter, took into account the facts of the case of Noor Jahan (supra), who, along with her alleged husband approached had approached the Court in the year 2014, for claiming protection as it was alleged that she had embraced Islam after renouncing her Hindu identity to contract a Nikah with her Muslim husband.

Importantly, there were four more petitions filed by married couples, wherein the identity of a lady in each case was analogous to that of Noor Jahan.

In that case, the ladies in question could not authenticate their alleged conversion as they were unable to show the knowledge regarding the basic tenets of Islam, and so the Court held that the alleged marriage was illegal as it was performed after a conversion which could not be justified in law.

To this, the High Court said,

"Once the alleged conversion was under cloud, the Constitutional Court was obliged to ascertain the wish and desire of the girls as they were above the age of 18 years. To disregard the choice of a person who is of the age of the majority would not only be antithetic to the freedom of choice of a grown up individual but would also be a threat to the concept of unity in diversity."

Consequently, the Court held that the Judgments in Noor Jahan and Priyanshi as not laying good law.


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