The Gujarat High Court recently directed police protection for an inter-faith couple during the entire process of registration of their marriage and thereafter (Samirkhan Faizullah Khan Pathan v. State of Gujarat).
The petitioner had approached the High Court seeking a direction to the respondent authorities to produce his partner before the Court. He also sought an appropriate direction to solemnize their marriage before the expiry of the three-month notice under Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act.
Yesterday, the woman was produced before the Court through video conference, arranged at the District Court, Junagadh. She informed the Bench that she was at the Training Centre, Junagadh, after having been transferred from LRD Training Centre, Gomtipur. She further stated that she did not have a cell phone as it was not permitted at the Training Centre.
She narrated as to how she was called to the Karanj Police Station at 8:00 pm to give her statement. The woman added that she chose to be transferred to Junagadh having felt that there was no other option, as she was desirous to continue with her service.
The Court registered that the woman was keen to marry the petitioner and that it was resistance on the part of her family that prevented her from doing so. During the interaction via video conference, the woman requested the Court to permit her to travel to Ahmedabad the next day, which was the last date for registration under the Act.
After considering the woman’s statement, Justices Sonia Gokani and Sangeeta K Vishen went on to order.
“Noticing that this is an inter-religion marriage, with all the details, which have been given in the petition and vetted by the corpus, we deem it appropriate to DIRECT a lady PSI to ACCOMPANY the corpus to Ahmedabad, ALONG WITH an employee of the District Legal Services Authority. Noticing some of the events narrated by the corpus, we found the presence of an employee of the DLSA, necessary.”
The Court also called for the report of sub-Registrar of registration of marriage as well as an affidavit from the PSI Karanj Police Station explaining as to why the woman was called to the police station after sunset for recording her statement.
The Additional Public Prosecutor was also asked to ascertain why the woman was not allowed to have a cell phone while undergoing training at the Training Centre, Junagadh, when the same was permitted during post-training hours.
The APP was also directed to ensure that the concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police shall grant necessary protection to the couple, during the entire process of registration of marriage and thereafter.