India is known for its religious and cultural diversification. Each religion has their own culture, belief, and custom. And a very important part of these customs is marriage.
Though in India inter-religion marriage is not new, still many of us don’t welcome it with open arms. Inter-religion marriage is still a big taboo.
In Muslims, an inter-religion marriage is still governed by Mohammedan law. If the husband is Muslim and wife is from other religion; marriage is still not considered as valid.
A forced religious conversion
As it’s not a valid marriage, the wife of the Muslim Husband in such a case may not be entitled to inherit the husband’s property. However, she will be entitled to get the dower.
The female generally in interfaith marriages tends to suffer by the hands of the family. To ensure that marriage is valid and spouse gets all the benefits she has to give up her religion. Furthermore, the spouse is supposed to convert to Islam. In a way, Mohammedan Laws force conversion on the spouse in order for the marriage to be valid.
These laws impede the freedom of the religion of the spouse. These are unconstitutional also as such law prevents a person from enjoying his or her religious freedom.
Social boycott from the family
There is a lack of acceptance in the family she marries into and also her own family. Moreover altering the mindset of her own family becomes very difficult. There are many cases of honor killing and other kinds of violence related to inter-religion marriages. Facing threats is just a common thing among such couples. Sometimes such threats may not be from a family member but certain religious extremist groups.
A stigma for the child
Due to the inhuman Mohammedan Law, the child born from an inter-religion marriage has to face many legal challenges. The society does not step back from discriminating against such a child. Most families refuse to recognize the child as legitimate to prevent them from inheriting the property. And thanks to the laws or we can say lack thereof they get away with it.
SC Judgement – A small step in the right direction
Recently the Supreme Court of India passed a constructive judgment. It held that marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man is neither valid nor void. That is as per Mohammedan law it is merely irregular.
It further held that the child born out of such a marriage is legitimate. This means entitlement in the share in the father’s property as well.
Path Ahead – Implement Uniform Civil Code
Religion is a very personal aspect of an individual’s life and the constitution guarantees its freedom. Therefore conversion or Non-conversion should not be the deciding factor for questioning the legality of one’s marriage.
Such actions are a bane and hindrance in the path of progressive India. All of these are the reason why it is time for India to demolish Muslim Personal Law or Mohammedan Law and adopt a Uniform civil code. It will replace all the personal laws like Mohammedan Law. Whereby everyone would be governed by a common set of rules.
No individual should have to face problems in a marriage due to their religion. Therefore the common law would address the discrimination. It will also harmonize the diverse cultural practices. These laws would safeguard the rights of not only the spouse but also the child from the marriage.