Law & Governance

Lawyers Collective Calls Law Against ‘Love Jihad’ New Mode Of Denying Women’s Autonomy

BP World Bureau | Nov 19 2020 11:19:16 AM
Image credits: Twitter

NEW DELHI: A national lawyer's collective condemned the 'love jihad' laws proposed by the BJP ruled states citing how it contradicts the constitution and citizen’s rights. 

All India Lawyers' Association for Justice (AILAJ) called the anti-love jihad laws by calling it a pejorative and communal term for inter-religious marriages and that there is no term called 'love jihad' in Indian law.

AILAJ said that the constitution guarantees that every person has the right to choose a partner of their will and desire and a law cannot be made to contradict. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution gives an individual the right to marry a person's of one's choice. 

AILAJ stated that 'love jihad' is a call for control of women's rights because "statements are steeped in patriarchal, paternalistic notions, where women need to be "saved" from "predatory" men, thus denying the agency and the autonomy of the woman."

They condemn the law as 'Right-Wing' propaganda. 

'Love Jihad' as a concern was expressed by BJP and RW sections where a Muslim man "seduces" and marries a Hindu girl just to get her to convert to Islam as a bid to "end" the Hindu population. 

Conversations regarding 'love jihad' sprouted up after a controversial advertisement by Tanishq which featured a Hindu girl married into a Muslim family but the families celebrate the baby shower according to Hindu customs. The ad was pulled after the backlash. 

Read: Tanishq Pulls Ad On Inter-Faith Marriage, Responds To Right-Wing Trolling 

The calls for the laws became more intense after a woman named Nikita Tomar was murdered by her Muslim boyfriend because she refused to convert to Islam. 

RW cited several cases including the ones in Pakistan where minor Hindu, Sikh, and Christian girls are abducted and forcefully converted to Islam and married off to men twice their age. 

However, major concerns arise because the law covers those cases where women choose to go with their partners on their terms, which contradicts with her right to autonomy and liberty. 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, citing Allahabad High Court verdict where "religious conversion for the sake of marriage not needed," said that he will bring in laws against "love jihad."

After UP, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana government expressed the same. 

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa mentioned in a press meet in Mangaluru that the BJP government will put an end to religion-based conversion post marriage. 

Read: What Women Should Know About Special Marriages Act, 1954 

However, the constitution gives each individual the right to choose their faith and right to religious freedom.

Added to that, the special marriage act, 1954, ensures women's right to retain their faith in inter-caste marriages. It also gives her protections including the right to inherit a property in accordance with her religion.