A relationship can not be dubbed as a form of `love Jihad' just because the boy and the girl belong to different religions, the Bombay High Court has said while granting pre-arrest bail to a Muslim woman and her family.
A division bench of Justices Vibha Kankanwadi and Abhay Waghwase in an order of February 26 granted anticipatory bail to the accused who were denied relief by the local court.
The woman's former lover had alleged that she and her family forced him to convert to Islam and undergo circumcision.
His lawyer, while opposing the pre-arrest bail applications of the woman and her family members, also argued that it was a case of `love jihad'.
Love jihad is a term used by Hindu right-wing organizations to claim, without evidence, that there is a widespread conspiracy to lure Hindu women and convert them to Islam through marriage.
Here, though, the accuser was a man.
The High Court rejected the love jihad argument, pointing out that the man, in the First Information Report, had admitted that he was in a relationship with the woman and did not end the relationship despite having several opportunities.
"Merely because the boy and girl are from different religions, it cannot have a religions angle. It can be a case of pure love for each other," the court said.
"It appears that now the colour has been tried to be given of Love-Jihad, but when love is accepted then there is less possibility of the person being trapped just for converting him into the other's religion," it added.
As per the prosecution case, the man and woman were in a relationship since March 2018. The man belonged to a Scheduled Caste community, but did not disclose this to the woman.
Later, the woman began insisting that he should convert to Islam and marry her, after which the man disclosed his caste identity to her parents, he said. They did not object to his caste identity and convinced their daughter to accept it.
But the relations later turned sour, following which the man lodged a case against the woman and her family in December 2022.
The High Court, while granting pre-arrest bail to the woman and her family, said the probe was almost over and hence their custody would not be necessary.
-With PTI Input