Supreme Court’s decision to examine the constitutionality of interfaith marriage laws enacted by some BJP ruled governments is welcome. Given how multiple states are enacting similar laws, it makes sense for SC to hear them at one go rather than leave it to high courts. Moreover, the same principles of jurisprudence and constitutional yardsticks would apply to the near-identical laws. The bogey of love jihad that influenced the enactment of these laws remains unproven even as it inflicts tremendous damage to social cohesion.
It is also important for SC to dispose of the petitions without delay. Incidents of harassment of interfaith couples are being reported with chilling regularity and the judiciary is the last resort for ordinary citizens at the receiving end of police and socio-political witch hunts. Moreover, trial courts are hamstrung by having to follow the statute book in which these laws have now found a place, unless they lose their constitutional sanctity in the eyes of high courts or Supreme Court. While some NGOs and a religious body have piloted the current petitions, efforts must be made to rope in victims of the new law to lend gravity and urgency to the matter.
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