Society problems

Hearing pleas from interfaith couples, Allahabad HC said state and society consent was not required for two adults to marry

The Allahabad High Court observed on Thursday that consent from family or community or clan or state or executive is not required, once two adults agree to enter into a marriage that is legal and legal. Their consent must be piously given primacy, with grace and dignity.

Hearing a batch of petitions filed by interfaith couples, a single judge of Judge Suneet Kumar observed that the marriage officer / registrar cannot refuse to register a duly performed marriage and / or insist on an approval of conversion of the district authority. The Court heard 17 applications relating to interfaith marriages contracted by applicants who claim to be of legal age and one of the parties to the marriage has converted to the religion / faith of his / her partner. Applicants fear threat to life, liberty and well-being and appeal to the High Court

The Permanent Council of the State argued that if the conversion is for the purpose of marriage, the approval of the district magistrate was not obtained prior to the conversion, and / or, entering into marriage, such marriage will not cannot be registered without the district authority making an inquiry, such as whether the conversion is voluntary or not. In other words, the public prosecutor argued that the applicants were not entitled to any remedy from this Court, they should go to the competent district authority and obtain approval, in first, with regard to their conversion. Motions in brief are subject to dismissal.

Counsel for the applicants argued that the argument advanced by counsel for the State was erroneous. Citizens have the right to choose their partner and their faith; the conversion of religion to faith, followed by marriage under personal law, occurs freely without coercion, threat or inducement. Interference by the state or the private respondents would amount to infringing on their constitutional right to liberty, choice, life, liberty and to live on their own terms as male and female. Prior approval from the district authority followed by marriage registration is not sine qua non prior to conversion and marriage, the petitioner’s lawyer added.

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When examining the applications, the Court declared:

“Life is precious in itself. But life is worth living because of the freedoms that allow each individual to live life as they should. The best decisions on how life is to be lived are left to the individual. They are continually shaped by the social environment in which individuals operate. The duty of the State is to safeguard the capacity of individuals to make decisions, the autonomy of the individual and not to dictate these decisions. In protecting consensual privacy, the Constitution adopts a simple principle: the state does not have to interfere in these personal matters.

The Supreme Court, as well as other constitutional courts, have repeatedly realized that in a society undergoing rapid social and economic change, a static judicial interpretation of the Constitution would stifle the spirit of the Constitution.

The right to private life is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by article 21. A citizen has the right to protect his private life, that of his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, motherhood and education among others, the court ruled.

It is clarified by the Court that the factum of the marriage and the registration of the marriage are entirely distinct and different. The registration only confirms the fact of the marriage between the parties, while the legality of the marriage, whether null or void, belongs to the injured party to settle in accordance with the law before the designated forum / tribunal.

“The duty of the court is to defend the law and not to restrict the sphere of law unless there is a valid rule of law. The choice of partner, whether in marriage or out of wedlock, is the exclusive domain of each individual. The intimacy of marriage lies in a central area of ​​privacy, which is inviolable. The absolute right of an individual to choose a life partner is in no way affected by questions of faith ”,

– further observed the Court.

“The Constitution, as a living instrument, which sets forth eternal values ​​for Indian society, possesses the resilience to ensure its continued relevance. The Constitution is not set in stone to make it rigid beyond change. The fundamental characteristics of the Constitution adapt in a fluid way and respond precisely to the evolution of the socio-cultural environment in its capacity to allow future generations to apply the principles on which it was founded, to find innovative solutions to insoluble problems. of their time. In doing so, we also need to understand that our solutions must continually undergo a process of reengineering. The Constitution is the domain of philosophy rather than grammar. The Constitution has undergone changes (more than 100 amendments) in 70 years since 1950, in accordance with the evolution of the social environment reflecting the aspirations of the Indian people.

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In its order, the Court went on to observe that the law would be assessed not in relation to its object but on the basis of its effect and its impact on fundamental rights on the basis of the criterion of fairness and reasonableness. . The 2021 Illegal Conversion Act does not in itself prohibit interfaith marriage. However, the marriage registration officer / officer does not have the power to refuse the registration of the marriage, simply for the reason that the parties have not obtained the necessary approval for the conversion of the district authority. . Such approval is directive and not compulsory. If interpreted otherwise, the law would not pass the test for reasonableness and fairness, and would not pass the tests of sections 14 and 21.

Accordingly, the House allowed the petitions by adopting the following Orders:

(i) State defendants and private defendants are prohibited from interfering with the life, liberty and privacy of applicants to live as male and female;

(ii) The police authorities of the respective districts ensure the safety of the applicants and provide them with protection, if this is required or necessary;

(iii) The registrar of marriages / officer of the respective districts is responsible for immediately registering the marriage of the applicants, without insisting / waiting for the approval of the competent district authority with regard to the conversion of faith;

(iv) It will be open to the injured party, in the event of fraud and false declaration, to exercise legal recourse, both criminal and civil, including annulment of the marriage before the competent forum;

(v) The Government of India to consider the constitution of a committee / commission for the implementation of the mandate of Article 44, in accordance with the directives of the Supreme Court;

(vi) The state government shall issue an appropriate government order to the registrar / marriage officer, district authority, to comply with and implement this order;

(vii) Private respondents will be able to request modification / recall of this order in the event that they are affected by the order;

(ix) The Registrar General of this Court is hereby ordered to furnish a copy of this Order to –

(a) Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, New Delhi.

(b) The Chief Secretary of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow.