Shalanki Prasad, ILS Law College, Pune
In ‘The God of Small Things’, author Arundhati Roy guides us along a tumultuous journey of love, society, family; of relationships hatched by moral codes that either forbid, or thrust upon us bonds determined by coincidental social locations. These codes, termed ‘Love Laws’ by Roy, regulate how we express ourselves, what boundaries we adhere to, how and whom we choose to love. When they assume a legal character, the transgressors can indeed be prosecuted with sanctions legitimized by the State. In the era of rising sanctions and social regulations by the ruling party, love that rebels against their communal agenda is threatened.
In November of 2020, the UP government, with other states following suit1, promulgated an Ordinance seeking to ban ‘love-jihad’, or the practice of Muslim men luring Hindu women into marital ties for the purpose of religious conversion. While the idea certainly offends the majoritarian Hindu population, the brunt of it is ultimately borne by interfaith couples—rebels and lovers who dared to challenge society’s rigid, communal moral codes.2
In this background, the author attempts to outline the existing jurisprudence on interfaith marriage in India through a Constitutional perspective.