Gujarat HC stays certain sections of anti-conversion law for inter-religious marriages

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Representative image
Representative image

Gandhinagar (Gujarat) [India], August 19 (ANI): Gujarat High Court on Thursday in an interim order stayed the implementation of certain sections concerning interfaith marriages in the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act.

The court said that the First Information Report (FIR) cannot be registered unless it is proved that the marriage was solemnized through coercion, pressure or greed.

The act was challenged in the court by a petitioner who claimed that the amendment in the act allowed anyone to lodge a complaint and criminalised inter-religious marriages.

The court, in the first hearing, had issued a notice to the Gujarat government. In the second hearing, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, on behalf of the government, had made a statement in court.

"The way the applicant is interpreting the provisions of the Freedom of Religion Act is not correct. Only those who get married by falsely intimidating are scared," he had stated.

In response, the petitioner's lawyer had urged the court to consider how police officers will interpret the law as many complaints had been received.

Finally, the court issued a restraining order on the implementation of amendments made in certain sections of Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act and observed that FIRs cannot be made on the basis of marriage alone in inter-religious marriage cases.

Earlier in April this year, Gujarat Vidhan Sabha had passed the 'Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2021' with a majority to bring more stringent punishment against forced religious conversions through marriage.

By passing this bill, Gujarat had become the third state after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to make a law against 'love jihad. (ANI)

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