In a crucial ruling that could have impact on the raging debate over ‘Love Jehad’, the Kerala High Court upheld that all inter-religious marriages cannot be branded as ‘love jehad’. This as the court upheld a marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man. The observation came about as a division bench comprising justices V Chitambaresh and Sathish Ninan heard a petition filed by the man. A habeas corpus plea is filed to ensure a person under arrest is brought before a court which will determine whether the detention is legal. “We are appalled to notice the recent trend in this state to sensationalise every case of inter-religious marriage as either ‘love jihad’ or ‘ghar wapsi’ even if there was platonic love between the spouses before,” the court said.
The bench also cited the Supreme Court order in the Lata Singh versus state of Uttar Pradesh case of 2004 to emphasise the need for encouraging inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. “We caution that every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvass and create fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in the God’s Own Country – Kerala,” the bench said and upheld the marriage.
It said the present case was projected by the parents of the woman as ‘love jihad’ whereas the man, who was in love with her and married her later, termed it as ‘ghar wapsi’ (a bid to coerce her to come back). The woman from Kannur had left her home on May 16 along with the Muslim youth. On a complaint from her parents, police had traced and detained them in Sonepat in Haryana a month later. Initially, a lower court had allowed the woman to go with her parents, who then lodged her in a yoga centre at Tripunithura in Ernakulam district allegedly to make her give up the relationship with the Muslim man. When the woman was produced before the high court on August 18, she had interacted with a single judge and expressed her desire to go back with parents.