Social Media: Wife and Husband Move the Gujarat HC To Quash FIR Under Marital Dispute Angled As ‘Anti-Love Jihad’ Law
Consensual conversion in Interfaith marriages to be protected by the law; communities need to see inter-faith marriages as a reason for uniting communities rather than a cause for fabricated insecurities, Gujarat High Court.
Justice Ilesh J Vora on Wednesday passed the order in a petition that stated due to the intervention of “religio-political” groups, a petty matrimonial matter, made communal, to bring the “love jihad” angle.
The Gujarat High Court has now questioned the State for its opposition in the quashing of the FIR registered under Sections 4 & 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 (Divyaben v. the State of Gujarat) against an inter-faith couple.
The couple filed the petition after the victim informant approached Vadodara’s Gotri Police Station to complain about a petty matrimonial issue that she believed would have been covered under Section 498A (Cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The case in brief
In the presence of their family members, the couple married on February 16, 2021, and parents sought quashing of the FIR, which got executed between them shortly after the marriage in the context that the marriage was without any coercion and out of their free will.
The contents of the affidavit stated that the woman had alleged that her husband and his parents had performed the matrimonial ceremony and forcibly converted her religion through marriage.
In the most recent plea submitted by the woman, she claims that the FIR records grossly incorrect facts regarding offences like sexual assault, use of casteist slurs by the accused and domestic violence, even though she never mentioned such allegations and these were due to the ‘overzealousness’ of the police involved.
However, before moving to the Gujarat High Court in June 2021 with a plea to quash the FIR, the wife has claimed that she had approached the police station in Vadodara to report trivial matrimonial discord, to which the police, on their own, brought in the “love jihad” angle. Besides that, they inserted the false allegation in the FIR, which she never made.
She said in her petition that, “…certain religio-political groups intervened in the matter and communalised the said issue by bringing in the love jihad angle, also on account of the overzealousness of the police officers involved, facts and offences which were never mentioned or alleged by the informant came to be inserted in the FIR,”.
Interestingly, the point that the woman’s father had never got arraigned as an accused even though he was a witness to the marriage registration, is evident that the entire action of the police is communally biased.
What the HC said
The matter got posted for hearing on September 20 after the HC issued a Wednesday notice to the State government. The petitioners, which included the 25-year-old woman, her husband, and seven others, have jointly moved the Court seeking quashing of the FIR and have submitted that the issue between the parties has got resolved and that they wished to continue their marital status relationship.
The order stated, “Sections 3, 4, 4A to 4C, 5, 6, 6A shall not operate merely because the marriage got solemnised by a person of one religion with another without force or by allurement or by fraudulent means and such marriages cannot be termed as marriages for unlawful conversion.”
The operation recently stayed by a Bench of former Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav on August 19 on the controversial Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021.