Read Order: GILBERT P.T v. STATE OF KERALA AND ORS 

LE Staff

Kochi, July 9, 2021: The Kerala High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a man alleging that his ‘second wife’ and son were forcefully converted from Christianity to Islam and detained by some extremist institutions. 

After the woman refuted the man’s allegations, a Division Bench of Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman AA directed the jurisdictional police to take immediate action to ensure that the mother and son are allowed to live their life without undue interference if any complaint of harassment is raised by her before the Police. 

The High Court was hearing a plea filed by a man alleging that his ‘second wife’ and son were taken away forcefully for the purpose of converting them to Islam. He also alleged that through the second wife, the petitioner was also offered Rs. 25 lakh for converting to Islam. He thus, expressed apprehensions about the life of his wife and child. 

However, the High Court noted that upon interrogation of the woman, it was found that she had converted to Islam on her own free will and there was no coercion from anybody. While she admitted that she had a relationship with the petitioner, she said there was no valid marriage between them. She also said her husband had not been looking after her and the child for some time. 

The minor child also narrated the same story as his mother and wants to be with he. He said he has not been converted to Islam and has not yet decided on conversion, found the Bench. 

“On being asked whether she had any fears or apprehensions which she wants to share, she told that the son’s studies are being interrupted due to frequent interference by outsiders and even the media,” noted the Bench. 

The High Court stated that it does not want to issue notice, which is usually done in petitions seeking a writ of habeas corpus, unless there are very compelling circumstances otherwise. This is so because the media will then flash columns “with an innuendo that the mother and child are in the custody of extremist bodies”. 

Saddened and dismayed by such outbursts by the media which was done without verifying the ground realities, the High Court expressed that the same will only result in polarization of communities which civil society can ill-afford.

On being asked by the petitioner’s counsel for an interim custody of the child for some days, the Bench opined that it will not be conducive. The Bench also stated that in case of any dispute on custody, the same is to be agitated before the Family Court.

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