Gujrat Aug 26(ILNS): The Gujarat High Court, today, has said it won’t make any changes to its stay on Section 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 as it has not stayed conversions for such marriages where there is no allurement or fraudulent means or force. This comes as a relief to inter-faith couples, who won’t require the district magistrate’s approval now.
Appearing for the government before Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi argued that Section 5 of the Gujarat Freedom Of Religion Act has nothing to do with marriage per se. Trivedi said Section 5 deals with permission for conversion, which people have been seeking for the last 18 years under the Gujarat Freedom Of Religion Act, 2003.
Petitioner’s counsel Senior Advocate Mihir Joshi argued that in case Section 5 of the Act is not included in the stay order, then the Court’s entire order won’t operate, and thereby, the Order of the Court becomes unworkable.
He argued that if somebody wants to get married (inter-religious), the presumption is that it is unlawful unless permission is taken under Section 5. Since the Court has stayed Section 5 only in relation to a marriage solemnized between consenting adults, the provision will not be deemed to stay for individual conversions, he said.
On Wednesday, the Gujarat government approached the High Court seeking rectification in its recent order in which it stayed the operation of section 5 of the new anti-conversion law.
On August 19, the high court had stayed sections 3, 4, 4A to 4C, 5, 6, and 6A of the 2021 amended Act pending further hearing, saying that they shall not operate merely because marriage is solemnized by a person of one religion with a person of another religion without force or by allurement or by fraudulent means and such marriages cannot be termed as marriages for unlawful conversion./ILNS