Allahabad HC protects man booked under UP ‘love jihad’ law

The court has upheld the Right to Privacy and choice of two adults, noting that the allegations prime facie is based on mere suspicions

Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court has stayed the arrest of a man booked under the new Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 in Nadeem v State of UP and ors (CMWP No. 16302 of 2020). A bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal said, “Victim is admittedly an adult who understands her well-being. She as well as the petitioner have a fundamental right to privacy and being grown up adults who are aware of the consequences of their alleged relationship.”

The Division Bench was hearing a criminal writ petition filed by Nadeem, who was booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police on November 29, just a day after the ordinance was promulgated, to quash the FIR registered against him.

Based on the information given by a person, Nadeem has been accused of trying to convert the informant’s wife so as to marry her. The informant also claimed that Nadeem was known to him and used to visit his house often and that he was taking undue advantage of the informant’s wife, persuading her to change her religion so that he may marry her. He also allegedly gifted her a mobile phone.

The petitioner’s (senior) counsel Syed Farman Ahmad Naqvi argued that the validity of the ordinance is sub judice and pending before the High Court itself. He asserted that this case was about upholding “the right of privacy as a basic fundamental right covered by Part-III of the Constitution” and that the FIR was registered on mere suspicion.

The Bench agreed with the senior counsel observing, “There is no material before us that any force or coercive process is being adopted by the petitioner to convert the wife of the informant.” Placing significance on the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25, the court noted, “Article 25 provides that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion, subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part-III of the Constitution.”

The court also upheld the principles of privacy, another fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens. “Right to privacy has been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy and others Vs. Union of India (UOI) and others as reported in (2017) 10 SCC 1. In Joseph Shine Vs. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 39, the issue of right to privacy has been held to depend on the exercise of autonomy and agency by individuals. Present is a case where all the allegations are prima facie based on suspicion”, the Bench said. 

Hence, the court concluded by saying, “Till the next date of listing no coercive measure shall be taken against the petitioner.” Further, the State was directed to file their counter affidavits within two weeks.

The matter will be taken up next on January 7, 2021.

It is noteworthy that the similar Bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal had upheld the rights of citizens to choose their partner as intrinsic to Life and Personal Liberty in Salamat Ansari and Ors vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors Cri. Misc. (W.P No. 11367 of 2020) on November 11. Citizens for Justice and Peace has also moved a petition challenging the impugned ordinance and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 in the Apex court.

The Allahabad HC order may be read here:



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