The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the religion of husband and wife is not to be considered a detrimental factor while registering marriages in the state, reported Bar and Bench.

Justice PV Kunhikrishnan passed the order while hearing a petition moved by a Hindu man and Muslim woman who were not allowed to register their marriage according to Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008, reported Live Law. They were married as per Hindu rituals.

The petition stated that the local registrar refused to register the marriage as per the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008, on the ground that it was not conducted as per any personal law. Citing this reason, the registrar told the couple to register their marriage as per the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which is for interfaith couples.

Responding to the petition, the Kerala government told the court that for marriages to be registered, they should be either solemnised before a marriage officer appointed under any statutory provisions or solemnised as per religious rites.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the single judge bench noted that registrars should not underscore such technical defects since the Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules were formulated to protect the rights of the women and the children born in that marriage, reported Bar and Bench.

“The respondents, while registering the marriage as per the Rules 2008, should remember that our country is a secular country giving liberty to all citizens to adopt their own religion and to follow their own rites, customs, and ceremonies,” noted Kunhikrishnan.

He added, “Therefore, simply because the father or mother of one of the parties to a marriage belongs to a different religion, it is not a reason to reject an application submitted for registration of the marriage as per the Rules, 2008.”