New law against couples validly entering into interfaith marriage: Gujarat HC | India News
In the order released on Friday, while staying various provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act related to interfaith marriage, the division bench of chief justice Vikram Nath and justice Biren Vaishnav opined that with the June 2021 amendments, a marriage itself is presumed to be a medium for the purpose of unlawful conversion if the marriage was by way of allurement, force or by fraudulent means.
“Prima facie on a plain reading of Section 3 of the 2003 Act, we feel that inter-faith marriage followed by conversion would amount to an offence under the 2003 Act. Marriage itself and a consequential conversion is deemed as an unlawful conversion attracting penal provisions” the court noted.
It said state government’s insistence that the element of fraud, allurement or coercion should be read with the State of Objects and Reasons of the Act, but this may not be understood by the common man. On shifting the burden of proof on to the accused to establish that the marriage and later conversion had not taken place on account of any fraud, it said, “This again puts the parties validly entering into interfaith marriage in great jeopardy.”
“Prima facie interfaith marriages between two adults by operation of the provisions of the Act interferes with intricacies of marriage including right to choice of a person,” it said.
August 22, 2021, 12:23 am