Uttarakhand should enact a law to curb “sham religious conversions” that are done only to facilitate marriages, the state’s High Court said on Monday. The court said it was making the suggestion because of the “fast changing social milieu”.
“...the court has come across number of cases where the inter-religion marriages are being organised,” the order read. “However, in few instances, the conversion from one religion to another religion is a sham conversion only to facilitate the process of marriage.”
Justice Rajiv Sharma gave examples of the Freedom of Religion Acts in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and said a similar legislation in Uttarakhand would “curb this tendency...without hurting religious sentiments”.
The Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh laws prohibit forced conversions.
“The court, while making this suggestion, is well aware that it is not the role of the court to give suggestions to the state government to legislate, but due to fast-changing social milieu, this suggestion is being made,” the judge said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the family of a Hindu woman, who had allegedly eloped with a man who converted from Islam to Hinduism to facilitate their marriage. The family alleged that the conversion was a facade and the man remained a practising Muslim, The Indian Express reported.
The case was, however, dismissed on Monday after the woman agreed to return to her parents’ home.