In a significant order post the promulgation of the anti-Love Jihad ordinance, the Allahabad High Court granted protection to an interfaith couple who alleged a threat to their lives. The single-judge bench of Justice Saral Srivastava was hearing a petition filed by this couple seeking direction to their family members not to interfere in their married life. Maintaining that they are staying together out of their own free will, the petitioners claimed that they are being harassed continuously. After perusing the High School mark sheet and the Aadhaar card of the couple, the HC held that both are major.
In this case, the Hindu woman converted to Islam and solemnized marriage with a Muslim man. In its order, the HC stated, "The court has repeatedly held that where the two individuals having attained the age of majority, are living together, nobody is entitled to interfere in their peaceful life". Moreover, the bench directed the Bijnor Superintendent of Police to look into the grievance of the petitioners and provide protection if deemed necessary. The matter has been fixed for hearing on February 8, 2021, where the husband has been asked to present before the court a fixed deposit receipt of Rs.3,00,000 in favour of the wife.
Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 stipulates that an individual who forcefully marries a girl for the sheer purpose of converting her religion can face punishment up to 10 years in jail. Such a marriage will be declared null and void. Besides this, mass conversions shall be punishable with a jail term of 3-10 years and a fine of Rs.50,000 on the organizations conducting it. If someone wants to convert to another religion, he/she has to submit an application to the District Magistrate two months in advance.
The UP government informed Allahabad HC, which is hearing pleas challenging this ordinance, that the Constitution abhors forceful conversion particularly in the matter of religion. Among many examples of what constitutes a forceful conversion cited in the counter affidavit, one of them was a Hindu woman's conversion to Islam after marriage with a Muslim man. According to the state government, such conversion is done out of compulsion as Muslim personal law treats such inter-religious marriage as invalid. To buttress its point, it claimed that the Hindu woman will be deprived of inheritance unless she gives up her faith and accepts Islam.