Interfaith Couple From Gujarat Takes Shelter In Delhi


By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha

A Gujarat-based interfaith couple has taken shelter in Delhi as the national capital has implemented the directions of the Supreme Court in ‘Shakti Vahini versus UOI’ case that relates to providing shelter house to interfaith and inter-caste couples.

The Gujarat-based inter-faith couple, who were in a relationship for the last 10 years, has also moved Gujarat High Court through advocates Utkarsh Singh and Aaksha Sajnani.

Utkarsh Singh, appearing for the petitioner, argued before the Gujarat High Court that due to absence of safe house as directed by the apex court in the judgment in the Shakti Vahini case, the couple have taken refuge in a safe house in Delhi.

After hearing the grievances of the petitioners, a single-judge Bench of Gujarat High Court presided by Justice Vipul M Pancholi issued notice and asked the state government to file a reply.

Government Pleader Manisha Shah assisted by Assistant Government Pleader Aishwarya Gupta with AGP Ronak Raval appeared for the respondents.

Manisha Shah submitted that the respondent will give necessary protection to the petitioner couple till final disposal of the present petition and joint accommodation will also be provided to the petitioner for a period of eight weeks.

Dhanak of Humanity, an organisation of interfaith and inter-caste couples, which is also one of the petitioners in the matter, has urged the court to direct the authorities concerned to grant regular protection to the couple till the final disposal of the plea.

The petitioner has also sought directions to respondents to provide joint accommodation to the couple in safe houses created as per the Supreme Court’s ruling till their marriage is solemnised under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the Gujarat government for strict compliance with the apex court judgement in the Shakti Vahini case. The Supreme Court had directed various preventive steps, remedial measures, and punitive measures for the protection of victims of “honour killings”.

The lawyer said that the parents of the man and woman were against their relationship and forcing them to marry somewhere else.

The petition in Gujarat High Court said the couple do not want to convert their religion or names for the sake of marriage and want to get married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

It also said that they have approached authorities for solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act in November 2020.

“Unfortunately, when the couple went to purchase and print the affidavits required for the solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, the information about the purchase of stamp paper on his name reached the girl’s father and they had to leave the idea of solemnisation of their marriage,” the petition said.

The lawyer submitted that the information disseminated by the stamp vendor was in total breach of the privacy of the petitioner couple.

The couple had taken refuge in a place here in Delhi on January 22, 2021, with the help of NGO Dhanak of Humanity “due to the extreme danger and threat to their lives and pending forceful marriage”.(ANI)

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