HC Grants Divorce on Apostasy Ground, Says Faith is above Law
By Express News Service | Published: 13th May 2014 08:06 AM |
One’s religious faith is above any law, the Delhi High Court has ruled while granting divorce to a girl who converted to Islam for marriage and then reconverted to her original religion.
Granting divorce under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 to Zainab (name changed), a Division Bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Najmi Waziri also clarified that there was no requirement in such circumstances for a woman leaving Islam to prove her act in a trial. The mere act of apostasy dissolves the marriage if she so desires, it said.
“Were a woman married under Muslim personal law to apostatise, the marriage stands dissolved. In such circumstances, the woman is entitled to seek a decree of declaration that the marriage stands dissolved from the date of her apostatising,” the Bench said.
The Bench went into the circumstances under which the law was passed in 1939 to emphasise that if people come or are brought to Islam from a different religion, they should be permitted to go back for which there should be no bar.
The court was hearing an appeal by the husband, Aarif (name changed), challenging the grant of divorce by a Saket family court to Zainab. Aarif contested her reconversion to Hinduism and alleged that she had done it under parental pressure. He also cited Section 4 of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act to contend that it prohibited dissolution of marriage on the sole ground of apostasy. The court agreed with the trial court verdict and ruled that Section 4 had not altered the rule of Muslim personal law that apostasy dissolved a marriage.
“In the opinion of this court, all that Section 4 has done is to introduce an intervening mechanism, but to reach the same conclusion, that apostasy would not by itself dissolve the marriage and some further substantive act would be required to be done in this regard,” the court said. The estranged wife averred that her mere statement ‘ipso facto’ amounted to abjuration of Islam and its tenets. She also filed an affidavit admitting to her apostasy along with fatwas from two muftis.