Interfaith Marriage Invalid Under Muslim Personal Law: Madhya Pradesh HC Denies Protection to Couple


Clarion India

JABALPUR – While denying police protection to an interfaith couple, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has said the marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is not valid under Muslim personal law even if registered under the Special Marriage Act.

The Muslim law does not permit a Muslim man’s marriage with a “fire-worshipper”, Justice GS Ahluwalia said while hearing a petition by the couple seeking police protection.

Safee Khan and Sarika Sen told the court they wished to marry under the Special Marriage Act, which allows marriages irrespective of the faith or religion followed by the groom and the bride, but couldn’t do so due to threats from their family. They sought security for their safe appearance before the marriage registrar and protection from any criminal charges (like kidnapping) filed by their families.

The couple also asserted they wouldn’t convert and that their marriage under the Special Marriage Act would override restrictions under the personal law. Sarika will remain a Hindu and Safee a Muslim and won’t interfere with each other’s religious practices, they said.

The woman’s family, who opposed their petition, alleged that she had eloped with family jewellery and cash, and that interfaith marriage would lead them to societal ostracism.

After hearing both sides and examining relevant precedents, the court said a marriage between a Muslim man and an idol-worshipping woman is considered irregular, though not void.

“As per Mahomedan law, the marriage of a Muslim boy with a girl who is an idolatress or a fire-worshipper is not a valid marriage. Even if the marriage is registered under the Special Marriage Act, the marriage would be no more a valid marriage and it would be an irregular (fasid) marriage,” Justice Ahluwalia said.

The court also highlighted the difference between valid (sahih), void (batil), and irregular (fasid) marriages in Muslim law, referencing the Supreme Court’s interpretation in Mohammed Salim vs Shamsudeen and other authoritative texts.

Finding no grounds for granting police protection or other reliefs to the couple, it dismissed the petition.

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