The Bombay High Court recently stated that a relationship cannot be labelled as ‘love jihad’ just because the boy and girl are from different religions while granting protection from arrest to four Aurangabad residents from prosecution.
A division bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay Waghwase of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court granted pre-arrest bail to Shaikh Sana Farheen Shahmir and her family who were accused of pressuring a man to convert to Islam and marry her.
The accused had previously been denied relief by the local court, which the high court overturned. The man had informed the court that despite their love affair with Sana Farheen, who was also a student, she and her family members, namely her parents and sister, insisted that he convert to Islam. He even claimed that they used force to perform circumcision (Khatna) on him.
He stated, “Everything was done under pressure and with physical force. Even a large sum of money has been extracted forcibly from me, which is extortion.” His lawyer, in opposing the pre-arrest bail applications of the defendants, had stated that it was a case of ‘Love Jihad’.
The division bench, however, declined to accept this charge, claiming that the male admitted to being in a relationship with the woman in the FIR.
According to the FIR, the male had numerous opportunity to discontinue his relationship with the woman, but he did not. “It appears that the colour of love jihad has now been tried to be provided, but when love is acknowledged, there is less chance of the person being ensnared only for converting him into the other’s religion,” the bench observed.