On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a notice on the petitions challenging the laws of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the name of ‘love jihad’ against religious marriage conversions, Live Law reported.
The petitions filed by Vishal Thakre and NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) were examined by a bench consisting of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna.
However, the bench refused to uphold the clauses of the laws requiring prior consent for religious conversions for marriage.
The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, was passed by Uttar Pradesh in November. Since then, numerous Muslim men have been detained under the law by the police. The Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, also forbids the conversion of religion for marriage.
Senior Advocate Chander Uday Singh, Citizens for Justice and Peace representative, advised the court that the laws’ provisions were “oppressive.” He added that the requirement to seek prior permission to marry someone from a different religion was “obnoxious”. The lawyer also said that “rampaging mobs” were rounding up individuals from weddings.
The chief justice initially asked the petitioners to approach the Allahabad High Court Live Law reported. After the lawyers told him that they were defending the laws of the two states, he decided to listen to them. The lawyers of the petitioners added that more states like Madhya Pradesh and Haryana were considering similar laws to be enforced.
The laws of anti-conversion aim to penalize “love jihad,” a conspiracy theory used by right-wing groups accusing Muslim men of using marriage as a lure to compel Hindu women to convert to Islam. Four other BJP-ruled states, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Assam, have also planned, apart from Uttar Pradesh, to enact laws to prevent the inter-faith marriage.
In February, the Centre itself told the Lok Sabha that none of the central agencies had confirmed a “case of ‘love jihad.'” An inquiry into this alleged conspiracy by the National Investigation Agency and the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department has also shown no facts. No data on “love jihad” is held by the National Commission for Women too.