Case Title: Shaikh Sana Farheen Shahmir vs State of Maharshtra
A division bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay Waghwase of Bombay High Court while granting anticipatory bail to a Muslim woman and her family observed that relationship cannot have religious angle merely because the boy and girl are from different religion.
”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…Merely because the boy and girl are from different religion, it cannot have a religions (sic) angle. It can be a case of pure love for each other”.
The application was filed by a woman and her family who were booked for allegedly forcing Hindu man to convert Islam and marry her. He also alleged that a Khatana was also performed on him and they also forced him to make some monetary transactions in the favour of woman’s family. He also claimed that the case has a “Love Jihad” angle.
The man and woman were in a relationship since 2018 and the man belongs to the Scheduled Caste community but he did not disclosed the same to the woman and her family. And later, when woman started insisting the man to convert his religion to Islam and marry her, he disclosed his caste identity to the woman’s parents and the same was not objected by the woman’s family.
The court noted “That means he has posed, prima facie a good relationship between him and her parents at that point of time. When the initial relationship was good and the caste or the religion was not the barrier for them, then the question of raising the issue of caste or community or religion at a later point of time will not arise”.
The bench also noted that the FIR was filed by a man at very later stage and also despite of all such instance he did not sever his relations with the woman.
“We can see that there is an inordinate delay in lodging the FIR. When there is inordinate delay, it affects the story and may loose its importance. The fact will have to be observed that when the base for the relationship was the love affair, there was no barrier of caste or religion and therefore, prima facie case under the Atrocities Act cannot be said to be made out”.
“We are of the opinion that prima facie offence under the Atrocities Act are not made out and therefore, there was no bar under Section 18 or 18-A of the Atrocities Act. Thus, the conclusion drawn by the Special Judge in that respect is wrong”.
The court further noted that the investigation of the case is almost over and police was likely to file a chargesheet thus physical custody of the woman and her family would not be necessary for the further investigation.
And thus, Bench granted anticipatory bail to the woman and her family in view of the above.