Magistrate`s marriage upheld after conversion to Christianity

Last Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2011 - 10:09

New Delhi: A Delhi court has upheld the
marriage of a magistrate who tied the knot with his cousin
after converting to Christianity, notwithstanding a court
order barring him from the marriage on the ground of violation
of Hindu laws.

Additional Sessions Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna endorsed
the metropolitan magistrate`s marriage to his first cousin
after converting to Christianity, dismissing his father`s plea
objecting to the marriage.

The magistrate`s father, himself a retired judicial
officer of Delhi subordinate judiciary, sought a trial on the
ground that his son illegally married his first cousin whom he
could not wed as he was "not an Indian Christian."

The judge dismissed the plea, saying that "Finding no
merit or substance in the plea, I dismiss it."

"It is well settled that prosecution has to be ordered
by the court only in the larger interest of administration of
justice and not to gratify feelings of personal revenge or
vindictiveness or to serve the ends of a private party," the
judge said while dismissing the plea.

As the sitting city metropolitan magistrate planned to
marry his first cousin, his father moved the court and sought
its intervention to stop his son from marrying her, contending
that as per Hindu laws a man is barred from marrying his first
cousin.

Though the plea was dismissed by the civil judge, he
went in appeal to a higher court, which allowed his appeal and
issued an injunction against the marriage.

The magistrate then converted to Christianity along
with his would-be bride and got married at St Thomas Baptist
church, Civil Lines, Delhi in November 2009.

The father rushed to a magisterial court, seeking his
son`s prosecution for marrying his first cousin by misusing
the provisions of Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.

As the magisterial court dismissed his plea, he moved
the sessions court which too did the same.

At the sessions court, the father argued that mere
conversion to Christianity only days before the marriage did
not ensure his son as an Indian Christian under the Indian
Christian Marriage Act, 1872.

He argued that only the original Indian Christian or
at least the descendants of the converted Indian Christians
are entitled to be married under the provisions of the Act.

His son, being a first generation Christian, could not
have married using the provisions of the Act, he argued.

Rejecting the contention, the court said that it is
not the logical interpretation of the expression `Indian
Christian`.

"The expression `Indian Christian` includes Christian
descendants of natives of India converted to Christianity as
well as such converts. It is clear that any person of Indian
origin, if converts to Christianity, would be an Indian
Christian," it said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011 - 10:09

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