Unhappy with the decision, the parents of Priyanka filed an FIR against Salamat, accusing him of "kidnapping" and "abduction to compel a marriage".
Inter-religious marriages in recent times have turned into a matter of debate for many. One can sight several instances where it has taken an ugly turn despite the adults consenting to the marriage.
In one such incident, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday (November 24) cancelled a case filed against a Muslim man by the parents of his wife. The girl had converted to Islam last year after marrying Salamat Ansari.
"Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals," the court observed in a verdict.
The two-judge bench further said, "We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim, rather as two grown-up individuals who - out of their own free will and choice - are living together peacefully and happily over a year. The Courts and the Constitutional Courts, in particular, are enjoined to uphold the life and liberty of an individual guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."
Salamat Ansari belongs to Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka Kharwar married Ansari in August last year without the wishes of her parents. Just before the marriage, Priyanka converted to Islam and changed her name to Alia.
Unhappy with the decision, the parents of Priyanka filed an FIR against Salamat, accusing him of "kidnapping" and "abduction to compel a marriage". The stringent POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) was also included in the complaint on the claims by the parents that Priyanka was a minor at the time of marriage.
"The right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty," the High Court ruled, rejecting the petition filed by Priyanka's parents as well as the Uttar Pradesh government.
Salamat and Priyanka had challenged the FIR in the court claiming that it was filed with malice and intent to end their marriage.
Referring to the constitution the division bench of the Allahabad High Court observed, "We fail to understand that if the law permits two persons even of the same sex to live together peacefully then neither any individual nor a family nor even state can have objection to relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together. The decision of an individual who is of the age of majority, to live with an individual of his/her choice is strictly a right of an individual and when this right is infringed it would constitute breach of his/her fundamental right to life and personal liberty as it includes right to freedom of choice, to choose a partner and right to live with dignity as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India."