The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday said moral policing cannot be allowed and ruled that two persons, who are adults, have the constitutional right to be together, by marriage or by living together, Live Law reported.

The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by a man identified as Gulzar Khan, stating that the parents of his wife had forcibly taken her to Varanasi and illegally detained her there. Khan’s petition stated his wife, Arti Sahu, married him and converted to Islam out of her own wish.

The couple got married in Bandra in Mumbai on December 28 after they eloped from their homes in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur, The Indian Express reported. On January 15, the couple, who had been residing in Mumbai, were going to collect their marriage certificate when a police team from Jabalpur detained them based on a kidnapping case filed by Sahu’s family.

The judge noted that Sahu, in her statement before the court via videoconference, said that she had never been forced to convert and did so as per her own wishes. She also told the court that her parents and grandparents had forcibly taken her to Varanasi where they beat her up and threatened her to give a statement against Khan.

Referring to the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, the state’s counsel objected to the marriage. The counsel cited that Section 3 of the Act, which forbids conversion for marriage, and Section 6, which renders such a marriage null and void.

The court, however, rejected the objections raised by the state counsel and the demand to send Sahu to the Nari Niketan noting that she was an adult and had clearly stated that she had married Khan and wishes to stay with him.

“The Constitution gives a right to every major citizen of this country to live her or his life as per her or his own wishes,” the judgement read.

The court directed the state authorities and the police to ensure that the couple reach their home safely. It also ordered the police to ensure that Sahu’s parents do not threaten the couple in the future as well.

Khan on Sunday said he had been reunited with Sahu, a day after the court judgement according to The Indian Express. “I have been beaten up, threatened and she has been tortured but why should we be scared anymore,” he was quoted as saying.

Madhya Pradesh is among the several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states that have enacted anti-conversion laws.