Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted Samajwadi Party Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Rais Shaikh to convert his petition challenging the decision of the Maharashtra government to set up an Inter-Faith Marriage Family Coordination Committee before a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice into a public interest litigation (PIL).
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale noted that the petition seemed to be in the nature of a PIL and hence the petitioner (Shaikh) could convert the same into a PIL.
The bench said petitioner should take up matter in appropriate manner
The bench noted, “Other than the name and address of the petitioner, there is no statement of fact about the petitioner. The petitioner is not concerned with the subject matter. He may have public interest but then it is open to him to take it up in an appropriate manner.”
During the hearing on Monday, the judges wondered how the petition was circulated in the media even before it could be taken up by the HC. “How is it that, even before we have seen this petition, every media person has seen it? If you want to test this in the media forum, then don't waste our time. Every media forum has seen this. If you want them to decide, we couldn't care less,” said Justice Patel.
Maharashtra govt issued GR on December 13 on inter-faith marriage panel
The Maharashtra Government issued the GR on December 13, 2022 following the gruesome murder of Shraddha Walkar in Delhi allegedly by her inter-faith live-in partner. The committee is meant to provide a platform to ‘counsel, communicate and resolve’ issues between couples and families. The committee comprising 13 members is to be headed by Women and Child Development Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha.
SP MLA contested that the panel is attempt to discourage/ forbid interfaith marriages
The SP MLA filed a petition last week alleging that the GR is the government's attempt “to discourage and/or forbid inter-faith marriages and is essentially a pre-cursor to laws related to purported love jihad marriages which has been stayed in numerous States of India.”
Shaikh alleged the GR was an attempt by the government to discourage and forbid inter-faith marriages and is a precursor to laws related to alleged 'love jihad' marriages
The plea seeks that the state government be directed to withdraw the said GR and declare that the same is in violation of the provisions of the Special Marriage Act.
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