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HC orders UP Govt not to insist on faith certificate for interfaith marriage registration

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HC orders UP Govt not to insist on faith certificate for interfaith marriage registration
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Lucknow: The UP government has been ordered by the Allahabad High Court to register the marriage of 17 interfaith couples, stating that they should not face any kind of pressure from the competent district authority in regards to the couples' conversion of faith.

The court observed that since the Unlawful Conversion Act of the state does not prohibit interfaith marriages, the people from different faith enter into a marriage contract shall not face any obstacles.

It also said that they shall not be subjected to harassment as the current atmosphere in the state is that individuals marrying outside their religion will be forced to go through social and mental trauma.

Justice Suneet Kumar was delivering its order on a batch of petitions filed by 17 adult couples, who entered into interfaith marriages after changing their religion "on free will".

Considering the apprehensions of the petitioners that their life and liberty were under threat from the family with the connivance of State machinery, a strong word of direction was sent to the state police authorities to ensure the safety and security of the petitioners.

The UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 prohibits "unlawful conversion" from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion or allurement, or by any fraudulent means or by marriage. The Act requires a 60-day notice and requires the Magistrate to conduct a police inquiry to ascertain the real intention behind the conversion.

"The issue, therefore, is whether such a conversion for the purpose of marriage would be 'unlawful conversion' against the will of the person and is a question of fact, open to enquiry," the court said.

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