Apex court comes to rescue of interfaith couple

May 21st, 2009 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday ordered the family members of a Jammu and Kashmir-based Hindu girl married to a Muslim boy to stop troubling the couple as the girl is above 18 years and entitled to choose her life partner.
A vacation bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Deepak Verma issued the order on a lawsuit by the couple claiming that the girl’s family was harassing them in collusion with some local Shiv Sena leaders.

The bench also asked the state police to provide security to the couple. The court personally asked the girl, Chanchili alias Mehvesh Anjum, and her husband Fiaz Ahmed Ahanger, about her age.

The couple had approached the court along with their infant daughter.

“If the parents do not approve the inter-caste or inter-community marriage, the maximum they can do is sever the social relationship with the girl. But they (family) cannot give her a thrashing, resort to violence or harass her,” the bench observed.

It added that India is a secular country and one cannot object to an adult girl above 18 years age entering into an interfaith or inter-caste wedlock.

The couple told the bench that the girl’s parents, in order to harass them, had got a false criminal case registered against them by a person called Darshan Singh at Jammu’s Channi Himmat Police Station, claiming that Chanchili was his legally-wedded wife and had been abducted by Fiaz.

The couple pleaded to the apex court to quash the criminal case registered against the husband, but the court refused to oblige them on this count.

The couple had earlier approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for quashing of the criminal case against Fiaz, but it had refused.

In their lawsuit, the couple said that Fiaz was a school teacher, working in Ramban district, when he fell in love with Chanchili and married her on Dec 4, 2007, after she embraced Islam. The couple had their ‘nikah’ on Dec 7 that year and executed a marriage contract before a civil court on Dec 8.

But after the marriage, Darshan Singh got a criminal case registered against Fiaz and his family members on Jan 1, 2008, saying that Fiaz had abducted his wife. This led to the arrests of two friends of Fiaz - Dr Roshan, a medical practitioner, and Abdul Lateef, an engineer. They were, however, later released on bail.

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