Delhi HC refuses to quash rape FIR, issues guidelines on conversion for inter-religious marriage

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NEW DELHI: While refusing to quash an FIR of rape, the high court on Friday said that a person who undergoes a religious conversion for entering into a marriage with a person different religion must declare on an affidavit that he or she is well aware about the consequences and implication of the conversation to new religion.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma dismissed the petition seeking quashing of FIR. She also issued guidelines to be followed by the authorities in case of inter religion marriage after conversion of one of the party.

The high court said that such person must file an affidavit that the conversion is being undergone voluntarily after understanding the implications and consequences related to marital divorce, succession, custody, religious rights, etc.

The high court said that a certificate must be appended to the conversion certificate that the convert has been explained the tenets, rituals and expectations inherent in religious conversion as well as implications and consequences related to marital divorce, succession, custody and religious rights, etc.

The High court also said that the certificate of conversion and marriage should also be in additional vernacular language understood by the prospective convert in proof of the fact that he or she has understood the same.

It further said that the same would be in Hindi also where the language spoken and understood by the prospective convert is Hindi, in addition to any other language preferred to be used by such authority. Where the language spoken and understood by the prospective convert is other than Hindi, the said language can be used.

However, the bench clarified that these guidelines will not be applicable to the person converting back to his or her original religion, since the convert is already well-versed with his/her original religion.

The high court said that these guidelines are for ensuring well-informed decision on the part of the naive, uneducated, susceptible, adolescent couples who may enter into such unions after conversions, without fully comprehending the profound implications of such a conversion, impact of which extends far beyond the immediate union, encompassing a myriad of consequences on their personal laws and various facets of life.

The high court passed the guidelines while refusing the quashing an FIR lodged under section related to rape. Maksood and Ms. ‘M’ have approached the court seeking quashing of FIR registered for offence under Section 376 of IPC.

The high court said that in the present case, it is not about pure love culminating into marriage between the parties which could have become a basis for quashing the FIR.

The high court noted that the prosecutrix was not legally divorced from her first husband, a fact that renders her ineligible for remarriage without proper legal dissolution of her prior marriage.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said, “There should not be an expectation that as a matter of right, subsequent marriage between the prosecutrix and the accused is sufficient ground for quashing the FIR of every case registered under Section 376 of IPC.”

“Needless to say, every case has to be adjudged strictly on the basis of evidence, conduct of the parties, their age, etc., and other material available on record,” Justice Sharma added.

The High Court said that the quashing of the proceedings which will be equivalent to permitting abuse of process of law by both the parties herein.
Thus, in view of the above facts and circumstances, this Court does not find it a fit case to quash the FIR, the high court said.

The high court also noted that the prosecutrix was not divorced from her first husband and has two children. The accused was also married person.

An FIR was lodged in September 2022 but after sometime in October 2022 she converted her relegion and married to the accused. However the accused was arrested in November 2022.

Thereafter they approached the high court for quashing of the FIR. (ANI)

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