The Calcutta High Court has observed that adults can marry whoever they choose to, and no one can interfere even if they change their religion before marriage.
While hearing the petition of the father of a 19-year-old woman who claimed that his daughter had been unduly influenced to convert to Islam before marrying a Muslim youth, the court said on Monday, “No interference if an adult marries as per her choice, converts and refuses to go to her parents’ house.”
In his plea, the 44-year-old petitioner from the village of Durgapur in Nadia district alleged that his daughter had been lured and brainwashed to change her religion and marry the Muslim youth. The woman left her home on September 15.
The following day, she recorded a statement before the judicial magistrate of Tehatta. In it, she indicated that she was in a relationship with her husband before their wedding, and had willingly married him.
“Upon the petitioning father complaining that his daughter’s statement under Section 164 of the Code may not have been recorded in an atmosphere where she felt comfortable, the 19-year-old girl was required to meet the senior-most additional district judge in Tehatta and for sufficient care to be taken so that she was not under any coercion or undue influence,” observed the Division Bench of justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee.
The court said the petitioner harbours suspicions despite a clear and clean report being furnished. It added, “To allay the father’s suspicion, Pallabi Sarkar, who is now known as Ayesha Khatun, will meet Saibal Bapuli, Additional Public Prosecutor, in Bapuli’s chamber in Calcutta. At the time that Pallabi meets Bapuli, there should be no one else in the room, including Pallabi’s husband. Bapuli will file a short report when the matter appears next on December 24, 2020.”
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