SP MLA challenges the state government's directive to track inter-community marriages before HC

by Web Desk | Published: 10 Mar 2023

BMC Elections 2023
An MLA from the Samajwadi Party filed a writ case in the Bombay High Court on Friday. The petition opposes the Maharashtra government's decree establishing a Family Coordination Committee (FCC) to monitor interfaith and intercaste weddings in the state. According to MLA Rais K. Shaikh, the Government Resolution (GR) is anti-religious and breaches various parts of the Constitution, including Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 15 (Right to Life, including the Right to Privacy), and Article 25. (Right to Freedom of Religion). The GR was issued on December 13, 2022, in response to the unfortunate death of Shraddha Walkar, a Palghar girl, reportedly by her inter-faith lover in Delhi, according to the petition filed by lawyer Jeet Gandhi.
"The premise that adult women who choose and consent to marry someone of another faith must be saved is erroneous and violates the spirit of the Constitution," Shaikh wrote in his petition. He said that the government attempts to discourage and/or prevent interfaith weddings and that it is a forerunner to regulations linked to putative 'love jihad' marriages, which have been halted in several states across the country. The FCC is designed to give a venue for such couples and their alienated relatives to 'counsel, negotiate, and settle' their issues. 
Shaikh said that the FCC's capacity to interfere at any time at the request of anyone violates the privacy of married couples, especially when they are consenting adults. He emphasized that the conversation around marriage in India frequently ignores adult individuals' autonomy, with families, vigilante groups, and cultural forces seizing control over the lives and prospects of young people who have selected their partners. The argument contended that the GR aims to promote a regressive and inaccurate narrative that "it is only in inter-faith or inter-caste weddings that a girl is at risk from her spouse".
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