Striking down its earlier judgment which said conversion just for the sake of marriage is not valid, the Allahabad High Court termed the judgement a "serious encroachment" on the right to freedom of choice.
According to media reports, the court, which was hearing a petition by a Muslim man and his wife, a Hindu who converted to Islam, to quash a complaint filed against them by the family of the woman, said, "To disregard the choice of a person who is of the age of majority would not only be antithetic to the freedom of choice of a grown up individual, but would also be a threat to the concept of unity in diversity."
Salamat Ansari and Priyanka Kharwar got married on August 19, 2019 after she converted to Islam and took the name Alia. The couple moved the court, saying they are both adults and married willingly. The judgement, which was made on November 11, was made public on Monday.
The two-judge bench, comprising Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Justice Vivek Agarwal, said, "We hold the previous judgments as not laying good law. None of these judgments dealt with the issue of life and liberty of two matured individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live," according to news agency IANS.
The judgement, which comes at a time when many states, including Uttar Pradesh, announcing that they are planning to bring a law against "love jihad," noted: “We fail to understand that if the law permits two persons even of the same sex to live together peacefully then neither any individual nor a family nor even State can have objection to relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together.”
Welcoming the earlier verdict which said conversion for the sole purpose of marriage is not valid, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had said his government would come out with a law to deal with ‘love jihad’. “We will bring an effective law. It is my warning to those who play with the honour and dignity of sisters and daughters by hiding their real names and identities… If they do not mend their ways, their ‘Ram Naam Satya’ journey will start,” the CM had said.