“Right to Choose a Partner, irrespective of Religion, is intrinsic to the Right to Life and Personal Liberty”
Allahabad High Court in the case of ‘Salamat Ansari and Others vs. State of UP and Others’ held that the Right to choose a partner is a Fundamental Right under Article 21. Article 21 is related to Right to Life and Personal Liberty and meant to give a live which is not like a dead body to all individual that is without any liberty and dignity. The case is filed by the Priyanka’s father who claimed that Salamat has abducted his daughter and forced her to marry him. He also said that this is the pure case of Love Jihad.
When the girl was asked, she said there is nothing like this and she is living with him with her own consent. The other side presented some previous judgments, in which it was held that conversion only for the purpose of marriage is not permissible. Overriding this rule Allahabad High Court bench consisting of Justices Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi ruled that these previous judgments are “not laying good law”. According to bench if two adult people are ready to spend their life together, then this rule that if after marriage one of the partner changes his or her religion then the marriage would be invalid, is not a good reason to let them not live their life together. The principle laid down by the HC is like “miya bibi raazi to kya krega kaazi”.
Moving further, the High Court Bench said that in their eyes Priyanka and Salamat are not Hindu or Muslim but they are two grownups who want to live their life together. The facts says that they are married couple and living like husband and wife for a year and in this period Priyanka has converted to Muslim religion, when asked she said that she has accepted Muslim religion with her own choice and from her statement it’s very clear that both being adult has all rights to live together and this rule of conversion should not stop them from doing so.
In India, almost all personal laws provide that if two people are adults then they can choose their partners. The Bench further stated that not granting them right to choose partners just because of religion is dangerous for Unity of country. This judgment came at a very crucial time when the concept of Love jihad is going on all over the country. The UP govt. is even ready to bring an ordinance for the same.
There are three cases mentioned by judges is support of their Judgment:-
- Hdiya case;- the case in which it was held tat once an individual is above 18 years of age , no restriction can be imposed on their choices of where they want to reside or with whom they could stay or not or about their choice of faith and their decision about this cannot be influenced by their family members
- Shkti Vahini Case: – “When two adults marry out of their volition, they choose their path; they consummate their relationship; they feel that it is their goal and they have the right to do so. And it can unequivocally be stated that they have the right and any infringement of the said right is a constitutional violation”.
- Right to privacy case:- “The constitutional right to the freedom of religion under Article 25 has implicit within it the ability to choose a faith and the freedom to express or not express these choice to the world”.
In conclusion, it can be said that making right to choose partner a fundamental right under article 21 is not a bad idea because it guarantees people live their life with the special one with whom they feel their life complete and that right should not be taken away just because of conversion of faith by one partner, but if the conversion of faith is not with the consent then the respondent involved should be prosecuted and marriage should also be declared invalid.
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