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No 'moral policing' if 2 adults staying together willingly by marriage or live-in relationship: HC

The high court noted that the woman clearly stated that she had married the petitioner and wants to stay with him
Last Updated : 31 January 2022, 07:51 IST
Last Updated : 31 January 2022, 07:51 IST

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that no "moral policing" can be allowed if two adults are willing to stay together by way of marriage or a live-in relationship. Justice Nandita Dubey made the observation on January 28 while disposing of a habeas corpus petition filed by Jabalpur resident Guljar Khan, who stated that he had married Arti Sahu (19) in Maharashtra and she had willingly converted to Islam.

Khan had alleged in his plea that Sahu was forcibly taken away by her parents to Varanasi and illegally detained. Sahu was produced before the court on January 28 through video-conferencing from the Advocate General's office.

The HC noted that the state has raised an objection in view of provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021. It is vehemently argued (by the government's counsel) that any marriage performed in contravention of Section 3 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 2021 shall be deemed null and void where no person shall convert for the purpose of marriage and any conversion in contravention, the court further noted.

The HC in its order said, “No moral policing can be allowed in such matters where the two major persons are willing to stay together whether by way of marriage or in a live-in relationship, when the party to that arrangement is doing it willingly and not forced into it."

The high court noted that the woman clearly stated that she had married the petitioner and wants to stay with him. She is a major person and her age is not disputed by any of the parties, the court said.

"The Constitution gives a right to every major citizen of this country to live her or his life as per her or his own wishes,” the HC observed. “Under the circumstances, the objection raised by the counsel for the state and her prayer to send the corpus (Sahu) to Nari Niketan is rejected,” the court said in its order.

It also directed the counsel for the state and police authorities to hand over the woman to her husband and to see that both of them reach their home safely. The police authorities are also directed to see that in future also the woman and her husband are not threatened by her parents, the court said.

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Published 31 January 2022, 07:51 IST

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