HC considers apostasy a valid ground for dissolution of marriage

Submitted by asandil on 5/13/2014

Marital relations in Indian society have always been a matter of serious speculations for the intellectuals, law makers and the judiciary itself. This is probably the only legal domain where decisions are given not as the readymade ones but are given in the light of the issues depending upon case to case.

In a far-reaching judgment delivered recently by the Delhi High Court on the status of marriage following renunciation of religious beliefs by a spouse has shifted the focus on marital ties of couples who resort to different tactics, including conversion, to enter wedlock. Many of these marriages end up in separation for a variety of reasons.

The judgment has recognised apostasy from Islam by the wife as a valid ground for ipso facto dissolution of marriage under the Muslim personal law while highlighting the significance of religious values and faith that continue to affect marital relations in Indian society.

Rejecting an appeal of Munavvar-ul-Islam against a decree of a family court in Saket, a Division Bench of the High Court, has stated that the dissolution of his marriage with Rishu Arora, who previously converted to Islam but later reconverted to her original religion, was valid under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939.

“It is an admitted fact that the respondent (Rishu) was initially professing Hinduism and had embraced Islam prior to the marriage, and then reconverted to Hinduism…The trial court was right in specifying that the marriage stands dissolved from the date on which the respondent apostatised from Islam,” stated the Bench, comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Najmi Waziri, in its 30-page verdict delivered on Friday.

Munavvar and Rishu got married according to Islamic rites on July 15, 2010. Rishu embraced Islam and changed her name to Rukhsar before entering wedlock.

Contrasts and differences emerged between them after sooner or later and they began living separately. Rishu initially documented cases under the upkeep and domestic savagery laws, however later withdrew them while expressing that since she had apostatised, her marriage did not subsist any more. The family court allowed a pronouncement of separation in the case. Munavvar fought in his offer that renunciation of Islam in essence does not bring about disintegration of a marriage legislated by the Muslim individual law. The High Court referred to a few researchers of Muslim personal law while managing the inquiries if renunciation essentially breaks up the marriage and whether the Act of 1939 had made any change to the general law.

Justice Waziri, writing the judgment for the Bench, held that the case was secured by the stipulation to Section 4 of the Act, as indicated by which the prerequisite for getting a declaration for disintegration of marriage does not make a difference to a lady changed over to Islam from some other confidence, who re-grasps her previous confidence. The Bench found that Rishu’s case was administered by the previous Muslim personal law which breaks up marriage ipso facto upon dereliction. The Court did not discover any legitimacy in the request and released it.

Ref. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/apostasy-valid-ground-for-dissolution-of-marriage-hc/article5997889.ece?homepage=true

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