The Kerala High Court on Thursday ordered the state police to bust any institution that indulges in forcible religious conversion or re-conversion of an individual. The court additionally said inter-religious marriages must be encouraged and that love cannot be bound by religion.
“We caution that every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvass and create fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in the God’s own country – Kerala,” it said.
The bench of Justices V Chitambaresh and Sathish Ninan was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Anees Hameed, a Muslim man from Kannur, who had alleged that his wife Sruthi, a Hindu, was forcibly confined and tortured at a yoga centre near Kochi. Sruthi had openly testified in court that the people who ran the yoga centre tried to force her to abandon her marriage to Anees, whom she had met while studying at a college in Kannur. The couple had fallen in love and got married against the wishes of the girl’s parents.
The court allowed the couple to decide their future course of action without interference from their parents. The judges quoted American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou in their judgment: “Love recognises no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
The court, while condemning any kind of violence against couples of inter-faith marriages, said, “This is a free democratic country and once a person becomes a major, he or she can marry whoever he/she likes.”