Shut down conversion, reconversion centres: Kerala High Court to police

The court also said every case of inter-religious marriage should not be portrayed on a religious canvass as it creates fissures in the communal harmony.

Published: 20th October 2017 07:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2017 07:41 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

Image used for representational purpose

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Any centre for forcible conversion or reconversion, run by a Hindu, Muslim or Christian, should be shut down by the police, a Kerala High Court Division Bench said on Thursday. The court also said every case of inter-religious marriage should not be portrayed on a religious canvass as it creates fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in Kerala.

The Bench, headed by Justice V Chitambaresh, issued the order while upholding the marriage of a Hindu girl with a Muslim. The court allowed Sruthi, hailing from Cheruthazham, Kannur, to go with her husband Anees Hameed, a native of Pariyaram, Kannur. The court also quoted American poet Maya Angelou’s poem “love recognises no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

The Bench observed there was a trend in the state to sensationalise every case of inter-religious marriage as either ‘Love Jihad or ‘Ghar Wapsi’ even if there was platonic love between the spouses before. This case was also projected as ‘Love Jihad’ by the parents of Sruthi whereas Anees alleged a case of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ -- a bid to coerce her to return to Hinduism.

‘Govt promises to take action’
The state government submitted before the Kerala High Court it would take appropriate action against forcible conversion and reconversion centres, if there is any, in the state. When the habeas corpus petition filed by Rinto Issac, who claimed to have married Swetha came up for hearing, senior government pleader Suman Chakravarthy submitted that stringent action would be taken if there was such a centre. 

The court observed, “Any centre for forcible conversion or reconversion has to be busted by the police whether it is Hindu, Muslim or Christian lest it offends the constitutional rights. Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India guarantees to every citizen the right to freely profess, practise and propagate any religion which cannot be trampled upon by subversive forces or religious outfits.”
The court also cited the Supreme Court judgment in Lata Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh that caste system is a curse on the nation and the sooner it is destroyed, the better.

In fact, it is dividing the nation at a time when we have to be united to face the challenges before the nation. Inter-caste marriages were, in fact, in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system, the SC order stated. The Bench further dismissed petitions filed by Athira, who was allegedly an inmate of the Yoga Kendra Thripunithura, Christian Helpline and Vijnanabharathi Educational and Charitable Society seeking to implead in the case contending this was a case of ‘Love Jihad’.
According to the court, the impleading petitioners are free to depose before the police probing the case and the writ court is not the venue for ventilating their grievances.

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