Mohamad Ayub Dar
Love Jihad Ordinance is another endeavor to play down unresisted minorities. The important issues are being put to back seat. The Ordinance titled as Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 (Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadhesh, 2020) requires every religious conversion to be scrutinized and certified by state. Section 3 of the Ordinance prohibits one person from converting the religion of another person by marriage. Violation of this provision is punishable with imprisonment for a term which is not less than one year but which may extend up to 5 years and a fine of minimum rupees fifteen thousand. If the person converted happens to be a woman, the punishment is double the normal term and fine. Section 4 enables any person related to the converted person by blood or marriage to lodge an FIR against the conversion. Section 6 empowers Courts to void any marriage it is done for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or if unlawful conversion is done for the sole purpose of marriage.
The problematic provisions of ordinance are against the constitutionalism, as the constitution places burden upon the state to justify the decision taken by it affecting rights and lives of citizens. The ordinance infringes criminal law and evidence principles. In the evidence burden is imposed upon the person who asserts affirmative of an issue, but the ordinance places burden upon an individual who negates. The insensible mockery of the state in the 21st century to still deal with religion as though it was a means to determine one’s relationship to the State. The State downgrades the secular and dynamic nature of the society. The right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 of the Constitution. If that is the case, what is the State’s interest in ensuring that a conversation is “valid”. Further state has no right to control the choice of an individual. Who is the government to come and tell a person that they are too Hindu or too Muslim to be considered otherwise? The move is nothing but yowling bushwhacks on personal liberty.
By banning the choice marriages state trenches deep into the private life of person. Growing incertitude and staggered approach to flounder personal life is shocking.
To suppress personal life, is bound to flout rape culture.
“The choice of a partner whether within or outside marriage lies within the exclusive domain of each individual. Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable. The absolute right of an individual to choose a life partner is not in the least affected by matters of faith. “
No case of love jihad has been reported by any central agency. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found no evidence to suggest that women and men were being coerced to marry and convert to the Islamic faith while investigating inter-faith marriages
The agency had looked into 11 inter-faith marriages from a list of 89 marriages that were in the law enforcement database, mostly due to complaints filed by parents. The examination was part of the enquiry ordered by the Supreme Court into cases of ‘love jihad’ or forceful conversion of Hindu men and women into Islam. The enquiry was ordered in the context of the Hadiya case. In response to an RTI Act, the national commission for women has said that they do not have data related to love jihad.
Love jihad seems the colorable use of power, because through jihad we are targeting the particular community. Second that there is always fear upon the individual liberty, where is the place of choice. It’s the love which motivates an individual to change one’s religion, he or she can go to any extent. It was love, no Jihad, says NIA in Hadiya Case. Love jihad is an attempt to marginalize further and humiliate the particular community. Allahabad high court while upholding love shielded over 125 Inter- Faith caste couples. Apex court defined the religion as a matter of super-human relationship.
It may become a tool for the women which she can use to muzzle the voice of men. Whether a conversion is legal or illegal that is for the courts to decide. The state should not sneak into the personal choices of an individual in the democracy. Incongruous justification of implementing such law to protect Hindu women under Muslim youth is infelicitous.
This is outrageous, there’s growing extremism & intolerance along with state indifference to crimes against women & minorities. Is it really constitutional to use term ‘love jihad’ to target a religion?
Whether anti conversion law is religion neutral?
One and above all the questions striking one’s mind is about, the paradoxical complexion of unlawful conversion law. This law does not have uniformity in its effect over different communities adhering altogether different religions. A marriage contract between Hindu and Buddhist, or a Buddhist & Sikh or Janie is out of the purview of anti conversion law. The persons belonging to these religions can intermarry without having the question of conversion involved, as for the purpose of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 Hindu includes a person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion. So the question of conversion is involved in the only in the marriage of a Muslim with a person belonging to Hindu religion. Assimilation of love with jihad is to denigrate the Muslim identity. This Islamophobic concept of love jihad wearing the color of unlawful conversion law cripples a selected community that’s Muslims and encroaches upon their right of marrying a partner of choice, belonging any other religion.
Love jihad ordinance has started a communal game the players being Muslims on one hand and the Hindus including Sikhs, Janis & Buddhists on the other side. It may have very harsh repercussions on the social harmony resulting into communal tensions in the state. Whether this unlawful conversion ordinance undermines the secular disposition of India remains unanswered but a debatable question. ( Author is Research Scholar Department of Law, Aligarh Muslim University and can be reached at [email protected])