Gujarat HC: Permission of District Magistrate not required for Conversion in Interfaith Marriage


Aanchal Agarwal-

Published on: August 26, 2021, at 15:34 IST

The Gujarat High Court today has declined to rectify its Order dated 19th August staying Section 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 stating that We don’t find any reason to make any changes in the order.”

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav.

Appearing before the Bench, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, on behalf of the defendant argued that the Section had nothing to do with marriage per se, it is only related to seeking permission from the District Magistrate by an individual who wishes to convert his religion and thereby the Order staying the Section needs to be rectified.

Senior Advocate Mihir Joshi, on behalf of the petitioner, argued that if someone wants to get into interfaith marriage, then it is always presumed that the marriage is unlawful until permission is taken in consonance to Section 5 of the Act. So by putting a stay on Section 5 only in relation to marriage solemnized between consenting adults, the provision will not deemed to be stayed for individual conversions, he added.

After listening to both the arguments the court stated that- “Prior to the amendment, marriage was not under Section 3, but now, because of marriage coming into section 3, a conversion for marriage would also require section 5 permission. So in that sense, we have only stayed in the context of marriage. We have stayed Section 5 with respect to marriages only. We have not stayed Section 5 as a whole.”

Thereafter, dictating the Order, the Court asserted that any person who wishes to convert his/her religion can do so by obtaining permission under section 5 of the Act.

Only on the grounds of marriage, the stay has been put on the Act so that marriage can be solemnized by a person of one religion into another religion without any force or allurement or fraudulent means, and also such marriages cannot be later termed as marriages for unlawful conversion.

Thus, the Court finally held that it does not find any reason to make any changes in its Order dated 19th August.

Also Read: Kerala HC: Whether Marriages under Special Marriage Act can be solemnised Online?

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