Roll it back

By: Editorial |

November 26, 2020 3:30:20 am

It units a harmful precedent that different BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka look wanting to comply with.

By clearing an ordinance that permits the state to police and punish inter-faith marriages with “the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion”, the Uttar Pradesh authorities has trespassed on an inalienable proper assured by the Constitution of India — the liberty of an grownup citizen to decide on who she lives and companions with, and to comply with any religion of her alternative. In doing so, it turns into the primary BJP-ruled state to border a legislation in opposition to what the occasion describes as “love jihad”. It units a harmful precedent that different BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka look wanting to comply with.

Under the provisions of the proposed legislation, the state can select to research the motives behind a lady’s change of faith and has the facility to annul an inter-faith marriage if it finds that its sole “purpose” is her spiritual conversion. This flies within the face of a constitutional truth: Neither clan council nor khap panchayat, and positively not a democratic authorities, has the licence to vet private selections as proper or flawed. Allowing the police to look at subjective “intentions” of women and men getting into a wedding veers into thought management — and units the legislation up for rampant abuse. It additionally legitimises a rank communal fantasy — the alleged conspiracy by virile Muslim males to lure and convert gullible Hindu girls. It continues the cynical politics that seeks to marshal Hindu unity by stoking the anxieties in regards to the Muslim Other — and enshrines it in legislation. Under fireplace for the Hathras gang-rape, the Yogi Adityanath authorities has sought to deflect criticism by emphasising measures taken for the safety and “respect” of ladies — the “love jihad” ordinance is being peddled as one other such transfer. But that the legislation’s scrutiny is specifically focussed on a lady’s change of religion reveals the patriarchal paranoia behind it. The rhetoric of safety, certainly, disguises a manic worry of feminine sexuality that won’t be contained by caste and clan obstacles, which is used to police girls’s lives and selections, typically by violence, as is clear within the historical past of “honour killings”.

The Allahabad High Court just lately overturned the HC judgment that questioned a “conversion just for marriage”, which was cited by the UP CM to carry this ordinance, as “bad in law”. It identified that within the eyes of legislation a person and a lady are usually not solely members of religions, however people with “free will and choice”. By in search of to cramp and constrict the liberty of the person, the Yogi Adityanath authorities imperils the bigger freedoms of a constitutional democracy. It should withdraw the proposed legislation.

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