Rajasthan High Court sets guidelines for religious conversion

Rajasthan High Court sets guidelines for religious conversion

The Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Friday laid down a set of stringent guidelines for religious conversion through marriage in the state. The court said that any inter-faith marriage that does not adhere to the directives could be struck down if challenged.

As per the new guidelines, the parties seeking conversion through marriage   should approach the district collector. "All necessary documents have to be sent to the district collector who will then send a notice to the parents. Thereafter, the collector will take the prescribed legal action and the marriage will take place in compliance with the respective Special Marriage Act," additional advocate Shivkumar Vyas said.

The guidelines also make it mandatory for the newly-converted to solemnise the wedding after one week of conversion.

The 10-point guidelines come in the wake of Rajasthan government's plea to the judiciary to clarify the legal status of religion change and inter-faith marriages. Hearing a petition on love jihad by Chirag Singhvi, who alleged that his sister Payal (Aarifa) was converted to Islam under coercion and that
her marriage papers were forged, the high court allowed her to live according to her wish.

The bench said, "Payal Singhvi and Faiez Modi are adults and court deem it
appropriate to declare that the above guidelines shall not affect their rights as two individuals are adults and they are at liberty to live their life as per their choice."

The division bench comprising Justices Gopalkrishna Vyas and Vineet Mathur said the guidelines shall remain operative till the Rajasthan Religious Freedom Bill Act of 2006 - which is awaiting the President's assent - or any other act governing the subject was enacted.

Both the judges said that besides the fundamental right of freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, some guidelines are necessary to check forcible conversion of religion because religion is a matter of faith and not logic.

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