Mumbai, October 28: RTI activist Saket Gokhale has moved the Bombay High Court and sought National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma’s removal for “love jihad” comments made through her Twitter handle.
The action has been sought for alleged violation of Articles 14, 21, and 25 of the Constitution of India and under the provisions the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.
On October 20, a tweet was put out from Rekha Sharma’s account that said “she met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and discussed issues related to women’s safety in the state including defunct one-stop centres, molestation and rape of women patients at Covid centres and rise in love jihad cases.”
Saket Gokhale pointed out that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs informed Parliament earlier this year that Article 25 of the Constitution provides for the freedom to profess, practise and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health, India Today reported.
He quoted the MHA as saying, “Various courts, including the Kerala High Court, have upheld this view. The term ‘love Jihad’ is not defined under the laws. No such case of ‘love Jihad’ has been reported by any central agencies. However, two cases from Kerala involving inter-faith marriages have been investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).”
The petition said that Rekha Sharma has “violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India by officially pursuing a policy which raises a phony, baseless, and communal bogey of ‘love jihad’ and denies inter-faith couples equal protection under law as is provided to same-faith couples by viewing the marriage of the former through a blatantly communal lens”.
The petition has quoted various Supreme Court judgements too on inter-faith marriages. The petition is likely to come up for hearing soon.