Legal Correspondent: Anuradha Patel
August 19, 2021: The Gujarat High Court passed an interim order declaring that the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, will not implement to inter-faith marriages which take place without force, allurement or deceitful medians. A division bench including Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav passed the interim order to guard the parties of inter-faith marriage from being carelessly harassed. The Court noted that the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003 was made to ban change by force or allurement or deceitful means. Marriage itself and a significant change is deemed as an unlawful turn attracting penal provisions, the Court said. The High Court said that the average man might notice every change due to inter-faith marriage as forbidden by the Act.
From the knowledge of the common man, it appears that merely because a change occurs because of marriage, it per se cannot be held to be an unlawful change or a marriage done for unlawful turn, it said:
Section 4A commands punishment of imprisonment in the upto 3 to 5 years for unlawful conversion.
Section 4B states marriages by unlawful change as void.
Section 4C deals with offences of groups doing the unlawful change. The Court has held that these terms will not implement to inter-faith marriages based on free consent by adults.
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