New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court, in a landmark judgment on Wednesday ruled that the publication of notices for inter-faith marriages which was mandatory will now be optional so as to protect the liberty and privacy of the couples.
In an order that is likely to bring relief to inter-faith couples, the court observed that the notice would “invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy” and so made it optional for couples to make a request in writing to a marriage officer to publish or not publish a notice regarding the marriage.
“While giving notice under Section 5, it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the Marriage Officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 6,” the court said.
As per a certain section of the Special Marriages Act, 1954, an inter-faith couple is required to submit a notice of the marriage to the District Marriage Officer. The notice is further displayed in the official’s office in case anyone wishes to raise an objection to the marriage within 30 days.
The court order further read, “In case they do not make such a request for publication of notice in writing, while giving notice the Marriage Officer shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnization of the marriage.”
The verdict came on the habeas corpus petition filed by Safia Sultan who married Abhishek Kumar Pandey and changed her name to Simran after accepting Hinduism.
The court also said that such a step is centuries old, and is cruel and injust to the younger generation.
Further, the court has asked Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary to communicate the ruling to all Marriage Officers of the state and authorities concerned.