At a time when saffron outfits have been targeting inter-faith marriages, by dubbing the phenomenon ‘love jihad’, the Gujarat high court has said that such couples shouldn’t be exposed to threats by any organization or group.
The high court observed this while hearing the case of a Hindu woman and Muslim man from Junagadh, who had eloped in May. The woman’s father filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court. She, however, told the court that she was in love with the man and accompanied him willingly. She intends to marry him, but her family members are dead against this and keep threatening her boyfriend and his family.
She also complained that various extremist organizations and a Junagadh councillor also pressured her to separate from her boyfriend. The woman told the judges that the man’s family live under constant threat and one untoward incident had also occurred. She also expressed apprehensions about “honour killing”.The judges said the interfaith relationship was frowned on by her father. “The law of the land gives discretion to an adult citizen to live his or her life in the manner he or she desires. By making a particular choice regarding her life, the corpus or, for that matter, the boy cannot be exposed to threats by the petitioner, his relatives or any organizations or group, which may be trying to make an issue out of it.”
On the other hand, the girl’s father alleged that the girl, who has a BPharm degree, was kidnapped at knifepoint. The girl complained that her father had her original documents, including her PAN card, Aadhaar card, marksheets, school leaving certificates and birth certificate. He is not ready to hand over the documents to her. Without these documents, she cannot study further. She plans to marry her boyfriend by registering the marriage under the Special Marriages Act, but as she didn’t have these document, she could not marry him. She made it clear that she won’t maintain her relationship with her parents and refused to meet them in court.
While the judges were interacting with the girl in their chamber, her father stormed in without permission. When the judges tried to explain the legal position, the man put a condition to the court that if the girl obeys his instruction, he would hand over the certificates to her. The judges grew angry at hearing this and said, “This stand is nothing but an excuse to pressurize the corpus by not returning the documents to her.”Finally, the court allowed the girl to go with her boyfriend, ordered the girl’s father to hand over all certificates to her and directed Junagadh police to protect the couple and the boy’s parents.
As carried in timesofindia on 28/9/2017