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These Shaadis Are Legal

Despite the Allahabad HC's ruling that non-Muslim women need to convert before marrying a Muslim. Here's the fine print...There's many a slip between the cup and the lip. For everyone who was jumping to hurried
PTI May 14, 2010 16:05 IST
PTI

Despite the Allahabad HC's ruling that non-Muslim women need to convert before marrying a Muslim. Here's the fine print...

There's many a slip between the cup and the lip. For everyone who was jumping to hurried conclusions that the Allahabad High Court's ruling saying marriages between non-Muslim girls and Muslim boys would be considered void, if the girl did not convert to Islam, was reason enough to raise questions about the validity of Hindu-Muslim celebrity weddings, it's time to pause and do a reality check.

Because the weddings of Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Arbaaz Khan, Sangeeta Bijlani and Mohamamd Azharuddin, Amrita Arora and Shakeel Ladak, Mini Mathur and Kabir Khan, aren't really under the legal scanner even if all these women didn't convert to their husbands' religion. But how can that be, you ask, if the Allahabad High Court's ruling holds true? Here's how.

  “There are two ways of getting married in India. If both the parties belong to the same religion, they get married in a religious ceremony. But if both the parties do not belong to the same religion, they take recourse to the Special Marriages Act which does not require any religious ceremony for the solemnisation of a marriage,” explains Saif Mahmood, Supreme Court lawyer and an expert in Muslim Law. “The case in which the Allahabad High Court gave this ruling, a nikaah had been conducted between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy. And because the two did not belong to the same religion, the court declared the marriage void,” he adds.

Evidently, the judgment has been widely misinterpreted. Not only is a Hindu bride required to convert to Islam, a Hindu groom marrying a Muslim girl would also be required to convert to the bride's religion. That's not to say that Hindus and Muslims cannot marry each other without flouting the law. Inter-religion marriages solemnised under the Special Marriages Act do not require conversion of either the bride or the groom to the other's religion.

“The Allahabad HC's judgment is absolutely right because it has been given under the Muslim Personal Law.

If a bride does not convert to Islam in a marriage registered under Muslim Personal Law, the marriage would be considered void. On the other hand, if a marriage is registered under the Special Marriages Act, it will be deemed to have been solemnised even if the Hindu bride does not convert to the groom's religion,” reiterates advocate Shrikant Shivade, who has handled celebrity clients such as Salman Khan, Shiney Ahuja and Madhur Bhandarkar. Looks like reactions to the judgment have been much ado about nothing!