The high court, in an interim order, directed the state government not to prosecute under section 10 of the MP Freedom of Religion Act (MPFRA) adults who solemnise their marriage on their own volition.
A division bench of Justices Sujoy Paul and PC Gupta on November 14 observed that section 10, which makes it obligatory for a citizen desiring (religious) conversion to give a (prior) declaration in this regard to the district magistrate, is “in our opinion ex facie, unconstitutional in the teeth of aforesaid judgments of this court”.
“The state government is going to move the Supreme Court to challenge the high court’s interim order, which restrains it from prosecuting under section 10 of the MPFRA adults who solemnise their marriage on their own volition,” Advocate General Prashant Singh told PTI on Sunday.
The MPFRA forbids conversions by misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat of force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
“We are going to file a plea in the honourable Supreme Court shortly,” Singh said.
The high court’s interim direction came on a bunch of seven petitions challenging provisions of the MPFRA, 2021. The petitioners sought interim relief to restrain the state from prosecuting anyone under the Act.
The court had granted three weeks’ time to the state government to file its para-wise reply to the petitions, and said that the petitioners may file rejoinder within 21 days thereafter. PTI COR LAL ARU ARU