The Madhya Pradesh High Court ruled that no moral policing is allowed where two major persons are willing to stay together whether by way of marriage or in a live-in relationship.
The petition by way of habeas corpus has been filed by petitioner Gulzar Khan, who is alleging that he has married the corpus at BMA Maharashtra (Bandra) and the corpus had willingly converted to Islam. It is alleged that the parents of the corpus have forcibly taken her to Banaras and have illegally detained her there. As per the direction of the Court, the corpus has been produced before the Court through video conferencing through the Office of the Advocates’ General.
The corpus, who is 19 years old has stated before the Court that she had willingly married the present petitioner and converted to Islam. She has made a categorical statement that she was never forced into conversion and whatever she has done was as per her own wishes. She has further stated that her parents and her grandparents have forcibly taken her to Banaras where she was beaten up and threatened constantly to give a statement against the petitioner. She has further stated that she wants to go with the petitioner as she has willingly married him.
Advocate Priyanka Mishra, appearing for the respondent, raised an objection in view of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021 and contended that any marriage performed in contravention of Section 3 of the Act of 2021 shall be deemed null and void. It is pointed out that Section 3 of the Act of 2021 provides that no person shall convert for the purpose of marriage and any conversion in contravention of this provision shall be deemed null and void.
The single judge bench of Justice Nandita Dubey stated that the petitioner and corpus both are major. No moral policing can be allowed in such matters where the two major persons are willing to stay together whether by way of marriage or in a live-in relationship, when the party to that arrangement is doing it willingly and not forced into it.
The court rejected the objection raised by the counsel for the State and her prayer to send the corpus to Nari Niketan and said that the corpus before the Court has clearly stated that she had married the petitioner and wants to stay with him. The corpus is major person. Her age is not disputed by any of the parties. The Constitution gives a right to every major citizen of this country to live her or his life as per her or his own wishes.
The court directed the counsel for the State and the police authorities, who have produced the corpus to handover the corpus to the petitioner and to see that the petitioner and the corpus reached their house safely.
The court also directed the police authorities to see that in future also the corpus and the petitioner are not threatened by the parents of the corpus.
Case title: Guljar Khan v/s The State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors.
Citation: WP No. 1714 of 2022
Tags- convert, Islam, moral, policing, jurishour, law