Courts Update Gujarat High Court objects to sections of Anti-Conversion Law,...

Gujarat High Court objects to sections of Anti-Conversion Law, says may be interpreted as all inter-faith marriages being banned by law

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Gujarat Aug 21(ILNS): The Gujarat High Court, expressed strong objection to certain sections of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act 2021 stating that people may view parts of the provisions as strictures against all inter-faith marriages.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav on August 19 observed that six sections of the Act, popularly called the ‘Love-Jihad law,’ have the potential to put the individuals, who have validly entered into inter-faith marriage, ‘in great jeopardy.

“The rigors 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 Advocate General Mr (Kamal) Trivedi and to protect the parties of inter-faith marriage from being unnecessarily harassed,” it noted.

The bench passed the interim order in a writ petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind and Muhahid Nafees challenging the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021.

The petitioners termed the Act as an invasion into personal autonomy, free choice, freedom of religion, and unlawful discrimination and hence, violative of the fundamental rights under Articles 14, 21, and 25 of the Constitution. On August 5, the Court had heard arguments in the plea.

Appearing for the Gujarat government, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said the sections were being misinterpreted, and that “only those who get married by intimidating are scared”./ILNS/SNG

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