Religious conversion for marriage, disconcerting: Allahabad HC

The court referred to the Special Marriage Act as a solution to people professing different faiths

Religious conversion for marriage

The Allahabad High Court allowed a habeas corpus petition in the matter Pooja @ Zoya vs State of Uttar Pradesh and others (HC W.P No. 446 of 2020) on October 8.

The judge observed that, “Though, under the Constitution, a citizen has the right to profess practise or propagate the religion of his / her choice but it is disconcerting that in matrimonial matters one party should change his / her faith to the other’s just for the sake of matrimony and nothing more.”

The Single Bench drew a distinction between marriage and religion and said, “Marriage is one thing and religion quite another. If two citizens of India professing different religions wish to marry, it is open to them to do so under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which is one of the earliest endeavours towards a uniform Civil Code.”

On being asked by the court who the petitioner wanted to stay with, she stated that she wanted to live with her husband. The court while noting that she is a major said, “She has indicated her clear choice to stay with her husband with whom she claims to have married. She is a major and she is free to do so. She is free to stay with whomsoever she wants and go wherever she likes.”

The petitioner had converted to Islam before getting married this year and a petition was filed in the court alleging that she was illegally detained. The Allahabad High Court allowed her petition and ruled that she got married on her own volition and was free to exercise her choice.  

Recently, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a writ petition filed by a married couple seeking police protection and direction to the respondent family to not interfere in their married life. The woman was a Muslim by birth and the court noted that she converted her religion to Hinduism a month before her marriage. This matter was heard before Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi of the Allahabad High Court in Priyanshi @ Km Shamreen and another vs State of Uttar Pradesh and others (W.P [Civ.] No. 14288 of 2020) on September 23, 2020.

The Single Bench had referred to Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra and another vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Others (W.P [Civ.] No. 57068 of 2014) in which, Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani of the Allahabad High Court had had dismissed a batch of writ petitions filed by a couple to seek protection as they had tied the knot after the woman converted from Hinduism to Islam, and then performed the nikah. The court observed that conversion to Islam solely for marriage, without any real change of belief is neither bonafide nor valid.

Justice Surya Prakash opined that, “A conversion of religion by an individual to Islam can be said to be bonafide if he/she is major and of sound mind and embraces Islam by his/her own freewill and because of his/her faith and belief in the oneness of God (Allah) and prophetic character of Mohamed. If a conversion is not inspired by religion feeling and under gone for its own sake, but is resorted merely with object of creating a ground for some claim of right or as a device adopted for the purpose to avoid marriage or to achieve an object without faith and belief in the unity of God (Allah) and Mohamed to be his prophet, the conversion shall not be bonafide. In case of a religion conversion there should be a change of heart and honest conviction in the tenets of new religion in lieu of tenets of the original religion.”

The order dated October 8, 2020 may be read here:



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