Court wants rules on conversions for marriage

Centre, states told to frame guidelines for converts

Justice Kailash Gambhir said that the intervention by the state governments and Centre in this regard was imperative to curb the court battles and controversies arising out of the religious status of the converts in matrimonial proceedings.

“The Law Commission has recommended that the issue can be tackled by way of executive instructions. Now the onus is on the government to steadfastly act on the same as this is a recurring controversy before the courts adding to the judicial backlog,” the Court said.

The observation of the Court came while dismissing an appeal filed by a Muslim man challenging a trial court’s order which had allowed a plea by a Hindu girl – whom he claimed to be his wife – that she never got converted to Islam and there was no solemnisation of marriage.

The Law Commission in its 235th report published in December, 2010 had recommended that the converted person would send a declaration to the registering officers in charge of marriage within a month after the conversion, the registering officer then would put the declaration on the notice board after which the converted person would appear before the officer within 21 days.

Afterwards, the officer would record the fact of conversion and confirmation in the register, besides notifying any objection in this regard. Following this, the certified copy would be sent to the parties who gave the declaration, the Commission had suggested.
The declaration to be put on the notice board would include every details like date of birth, address and present religion as well.

“Matters relating to conversion/reconversion are governed by the personal laws in respect of which Parliament has power to make laws.

“(But) The Commission is inclined to think that a separate enactment or amendments to the respective personal laws is not required to give effect to this simple recommendation having regard to the fact that it does not go contrary to the existing provisions of law nor does in any way impinge on the religious freedom or faith of any person,” it had said.

The Court referred the recommendations which had further stated the Central Government can exercise its executive power under Article 73 to issue appropriate instructions to the Union Territories while similar communications may be addressed by the Central Government to the States (where there are no laws governing the conversion) for it.

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