The Allahabad High Court has ruled that the religious conversion of girls “without their faith and belief in Islam” and “solely for the purpose of marriage” to Muslim boys could not be held valid.
The order was passed by Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani while dismissing a clutch of petitions filed by five couples, including Noor Jahan Begum alias Anjali Mishra, hailing from different districts of the state, who had sought “protection as married couple”. In each case, the boys were Muslim while the girls were Hindus who got converted to Islam for solemnizing “nikah” and had approached the court for relief against alleged harassment by relatives and police.
In his order, Justice Kesarwani quoted a Supreme Court order of 2000 wherein it was laid down that “conversion of religion of a non-Muslim without any real change of belief in Islam and only for the purpose of marriage is void”. Such a marriage was against the tenets of the Quran and also the rulings of the Supreme Court on the issue, he added. “The alleged conversion of petitioner Noor Jahan Begum alias Anjali Mishra cannot be said to be bona fide or valid. The religion of petitioner was converted at the instance of the boys to marry with the girl.
The petitioner girls have stated that they do not know about Islam. In the writ petitions, as well as in the statements on oath made before this court, the petitioner girls have not stated that they have any real faith and belief in the unity of God and Mohammed to be Prophet. They all stated that the boy got their religion converted with sole purpose to marry her.”
Concluding that these marriages were “against the mandate of… the Holy Quran”, the court said: “Thus conversion of religion to Islam in the present facts of the girls, without their faith and belief in Islam and at the instances of the boys, solely for the purpose of marriage, cannot be said to be a valid conversion to Islam religion.”
The petitioners (girls), most of whom were aged around 18 or 19, had earlier submitted before the court that they “did not know anything about Islam; they were not in the room when their religion was converted; and that they converted only because the boys wanted them to.”
The boys had also submitted before court that they were not aware of the paperwork regarding conversion. But they did admit that they had got the women converted for the sake of marriage.