Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Ali Mohammad Magrey, J., granted protection to an inter-faith couple as guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution qua peaceful married life.

Ordinarily, the court on the strength of the pleadings of the parties supported by the documents and the affidavit, issue directions qua protection to life in tune with the mandate of the judgment of Supreme Court delivered in Lata Singh vs. State of UP, (2006) 5 SCC 475, but keeping in view the nature of pleadings vis-à-vis conversion of religion of the petitioner no. 1, the Bench went further to ensure that the statement of the said petitioner was recorded to ascertain as to whether the averments made in the writ petition were supported by the said petitioner who was shown to have converted.

The Petitioner 1 submitted that she had, of her own free will and without any force from any quarter, made a declaration qua conversion to Islam in presence of the authorized persons. She further stated that she being major had married the petitioner 2 of her own free will and necessary requirements, in this connection, had been fulfilled as required in terms of law. The Petitioner 1 further submitted that it was with great difficulty that she managed to appear before the Court as there is a persistent threat to her life as also of the petitioner 2 as they had  married against the wish of respondents 6 and 7 and it was on their instance that large number of people were bent upon to kill the petitioners. It was also submitted that at the instance of respondents 6 and 7 a case had been against the petitioners.

In order to ensure protection to the life of the petitioners, the Bench directed respondents 1 to  5 to ensure that the petitioners are not harassed/attacked/kidnapped or caused any harm by respondents 6 and 7 or by anyone at their instance and they shall be allowed to live their married life the way they like and protect their rights in terms of the guarantee as enshrined by the Constitution of India. Additionally, respondents 1 to 5 in general and SSP Budgam and SHO Police Station Chadoora were directed to ensure implementation of the directions of the Court in letter and spirit. SHO of Police Station Satwari was also directed not to take any coercive steps against the petitioners in pursuance to the case if any registered.

[Khadeeja v. UT of Ladakh, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 368, decided on 20-05-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Adv. Bhat Khursheed

For Union Territory of Ladakh: AAG B. A. Dar

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