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Person converting into another faith must be explained the tenets and rituals expected in religious conversion:Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court ruled that a person who would convert their religion for the purpose of entering into marriage with a person from a different community or religion must declare that they are aware of the consequences and implications of the new religion when it comes to religious rights,divorce and custody.

The Court, has issued guidelines that will have to be followed by authorities for interfaith marriages after conversion and for recording of the statement of sexual assault victims under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The Court in its judgement said that the affidavit must be appended to the conversion certificate about the details related to conversion(tenets, rituals, and expectations inherent) along with implications and consequences related to marital divorce, succession, custody and religious rights.

The Court added that the conversion certificates needs to be made available in the vernacular language understood by the prospective convert to prove the fact that he or she has understood the same.

The court said that same be in Hindi also where the language spoken and understood by the prospective convert is Hindi, in addition to any other language preferred to be used by such authority.

The Court also added that wherever the language spoken and understood by the prospective convert is other than Hindi, the said language can be used.

If further said that an affidavit regarding age, marital history and marital status and evidence of the same shall also be furnished and the affidavit shall also say that the conversion is being undergone “voluntarily after understanding the implications and consequences related to marital divorce, succession, custody and religious rights, etc”.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma clarified that these directions will not apply to a person converting back to his/her original religion since the convert is already well-versed with his/her original religion.

The Court further said that these guidelines will not apply to marriages performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

“These guidelines are for ensuring well-informed decision on the part of the naive, uneducated, susceptible, adolescent couples who may enter into such unions after conversions, without fully comprehending the profound implications of such a conversion, impact of which extends far beyond the immediate union, encompassing a myriad of consequences on their personal laws and various facets of life,” the Court said.

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