The Allahabad High Court has struck down its previous rulings that said that "religious conversions just for the purpose of marriages were unacceptable and the marriage has no sanctity in law" was incorrect and didn't lay down good law, reported Bar and Bench.
The high court previous judgements, now struck down, became the basis of announcement of a new law in Uttar Pradesh on love jihad, a conspiracy theory discovered by right-wing groups according to which Muslim men lure Hindu women to convert them into Islam.
A bench of Justices Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi said:
Rather, the right to live with a person of one's choice is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty irrespective of religion.
Not good law
Referring to previous related judgements, the court said, "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. We hold the judgments in Noor Jahan and Priyanshi as not laying good law."
The court made the observations while hearing a petition filed against a Muslim man by the parents of his wife who converted to Islam to marry him. The court recorded the couple's submission that they entered into the marriage voluntarily and were living together happily.
Don't see them as Hindu-Muslim: Court
The court said that it didn't see the couple as Hindu and Muslim but as two "grown-up individuals" who were living together peacefully out of their own will.
"We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim, rather as two grown-up individuals who - out of their own free will and choice - are living together peacefully and happily over a year. The Courts and the Constitutional Courts, in particular, are enjoined to uphold the life and liberty of an individual guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," NDTV quoted the court said as saying.
Ansari is a resident of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh who married Priyanka against her parents' wishes last year. She converted before the marriage and changed her name to "Alia", the new report said.
Priyanka's parents had filed an FIR against Ansari for allegedly kidnapping and forcing her to marry him. They had also claimed that Priyanka was a minor at the time of the marriage.
While delivering its judgement on November 11, the court rejected only the arguments of Priyanka's parents but also of the Uttar Pradesh government, as per reports.
Setback for Yogi govt
The latest observation by the high court could jolt the plans of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who earlier this month had cited the court's previous judgement to announce a new law in the state to criminalise "love jihad".
After Yogi announcement, BJP-ruled states Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam also announced that they were mulling on bringing similar laws.
The "Love jihad" term
While BJP leader and other right-wing organisation are demanding strict law against "love jihad", many accused the BJP of trying to disturb the communal fabric of India and hailed love as a binding factor in the society.
On Monday, actor-turned-politician and TMC MP Nusrat Jahan said, "Love is very personal. Love and jihad don't go hand-in-hand. Just before polls, people come up with topics like this. It is a personal choice who you want to be with. Be in love and start falling in love with each other. Don't make religion a political tool".
"Love is a religion. Those in love don't care, they think they're bigger than oceans. You can kill them but that's not going to stop love. There were Heer-Ranjha, Sohni-Mahiwal, Sassui-Punnhun & many more. We need to spread love, not fear," said Congress MP KTS Tulsi.