Gujarat High Court Stays Sections of New Anti-Conversion Law

The order, the court said, is to protect interfaith couples from harassment.

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Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Thursday put a stay on the operation of some sections related to interfaith marriages of the state’s new anti-conversion law.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav said the interim order has been passed to protect people from unnecessary harassment.

The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, which penalises forcible or fraudulent religious conversion through marriage, was notified by the state government on June 15.

Last month, the Gujarat chapter of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind filed a petition saying some of the amended sections of the law were unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Chief Justice Nath said, “We are of the opinion that pending further hearing, rigors of section 3,4, 4a to 4c, 5, 6, and 6a shall not operate merely because the marriage is solemnised by a person of one religion with another religion without force, allurement or fraudulent means and such marriages cannot be termed as marriage for the purpose of unlawful conversion.”

“This interim order is to protect the parties which solemnised interfaith marriages from unnecessary harassment,” he said.