#GujaratHighCourt hears plea challenging the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 which had amended the existing Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 and prohibited forcible religious conversion by marriage.
Earlier this month, the High Court had orally observed that a married couple should be able to decide which religion to follow while issuing notice to the State government.

Read more: barandbench.com/news/litigatio…
Matter is before Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav.

Marriage per se is not prohibited. Conversion by way of force, allurement is prohibited: Counsel appearing for the State.

No prosecution is to be initiated except without prior sanction, without a “safety value,” this is not like a usual IPC offense that person can go to the police so that investigation starts or harassment starts. : State counsel.

Today, our understanding is this - marriage per se is not prohibited. Many at times we come across confusion in drafting, it doesn’t mean one should dump it. It is required to be interpreted like this: State counsel

All that I say, a marriage per se is not prohibited under Section 3. Marriage cannot be used as an instrument for effecting forceful conversion: State counsel

There are two ways. The Court may clarify so there is no fear of abuse. According to us, there is no fear of abuse. Nevertheless, if the petitioner expresses that fear, it can be taken care of: State counsel

Your original Act is of 2003, the amendment has come in 2021: Court

They just substituted the line ... "by any fraudulent means or by marriage." : State counsel

Marriage (to attract offence under 2021 amendment) ultimately should be for the purpose of, if I may say so, conversion actuated by force, allurement or fraudulent means. Otherwise, marriage is not prohibited: State counsel

The focal point of this section is conversion not marriage. Nobody understands this provision as prohibiting marriage, no ... Court has said no particular section should be read in isolation ... Let us see the whole scheme of the Act: State counsel

Whether it is sought to prohibit marriage or unlawful conversion? That is the million-dollar question. The answer is, it is sought to prohibit unlawful conversion: State counsel

That is what we are also saying - the purpose is to prohibit unlawful conversion. Because of marriage, a conversion takes place and it becomes 'unlawful', that is what is wrong: Chief Justice

There are three complaints received so far of conversion, nothing has been done. Only three complaints: State counsel

Marriage is permitted. Unlawful conversion is prohibited earlier also. Then there is no point in inserting marriage at all: Petitioner counsel

Conversion may take prior to marriage conversion may take place after marriage also. Suppose marriage doesn't take place, only conversion takes place. Marriage gets followed by conversion. That happens. We have to take care of everything: State counsel

So long as genuine conversion is there milord, no one has to worry. It is for the people milords: State counsel

Court dictates interim order (audio unclear).

Date given, State granted time to respond. Hearing over.


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