A division bench of the Gujarat High Court granted relief to an interfaith couple and cautioned the woman’s parents
to not “misbehave” due to their opposition to the marriage.
The court also directed the woman’s parents to share the books and clothes of the woman that are in the parents’ possession as the woman is “desirous of continuing her studies,” while disposing the petition.
The court further assured police protection “if any need arises”.
The order pertains to the marriage of a 26-year old Muslim man to a 20-year-old Hindu woman under the Special Marriage Act in Ahmedabad in May 2021, with both parties continuing with their existing faith.
However, the woman’s parents were opposed to the marriage and the couple decided that the woman will stay at her parental home until their approval. According to the petition, the woman was subjected to physical and mental cruelty by her father and in December 2021, she left her home willingly and started residing at her matrimonial house. The woman’s father, however, filed a “false complaint” with the Danilimda police station alleging that his daughter left the house with cash and ornaments.
In response, the police visited the house of the husband and “started harassing the family members of the petitioner (husband) in order to get custody” of his wife. To “avoid unnecessary harassment by the police”, the couple left for Ajmer in Rajasthan.
The police soon brought the couple back to Danilimda police station and “illegally and arbitrarily” took the woman in custody. Following production before a magistrate court, was housed at Nari Vikas Gruh in Paldi. The magistrate court subsequently handed over custody of the woman to her parents. Soon, represented by advocate Rafik Lokhandwala, the petitioner-husband moved the Gujarat HC with a habeas corpus petition.