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The religious conversion into Islam by a person from non Islamic faith is not valid if the conversion is done for the purpose of polygamy. Neither Islam nor the law recognizing any such conversion in India. In the case of Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India4 a married Hindu male converted in to Islam for the sake of solemninising another marriage as polygamy is permitted in Islam. The Hon’ble SC held that conversion in to another faith Ipso-facto does not dissolve the first marriage because no one is allowed to take the benefit of his own wrong. Moreover the court held that the married person converting into Islam is not entitle to marry another woman after conversion. It was held to be an act of bigamy prohibited U/S 17 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and punishable U/S 494 of IPC and it was further observed that the second marriage is void. In Vilayat Raj vs Smt. Sunita 5 it was observed by the court that if both the parties to the marriage were Hindu at the time of marriage , pre-nupital law i.e. Hindu Marriage Act applied even after conversion in Islam. In Lilly Thomas vs Union of India 6 it was observed that an apostate husband is guilty of bigamy U/S 494 of IPC if he marriage another woman after converting into Islam. It was observed that holding such person guilty of bigamy is not violation of freedom of religion U/Article 25 of the Constitution, hence, Section 17 of H.M.A. 1955 is applicable. From the above it is clear that after the pronouncement of the aforesaid judicial verdicts, polygamy is no more a valued person for religious conversion into Islam. A person does not ceases to be Hindu nearly because he declares that he has no faith in his religion. A person will not cease to be Hindu even if he does not practice his religion till he does not renounces his religion or starts living and behaving like an atheist or agnostic or starts eating beef or insulting God or Goddesses. He does not ceases to be member of the religion even if he starts expressing his faith in any other religion , he continuous to be a Hindu Chandra Shekharan vs Kulundurivalu7 If a person converts from Hindu religion to Sikh , Budhism or Jainism he does not cease to be Hindu since all these religions do not fall beyond the definition of ‘Hindu’ in the relevant section of Hindu Marriage Act . He ceases to be Hindu if he converts into Islam Christianity or Jews or Zoroastrain, conversion into these religion is a ground for desolation of marriage for the other spouse and not for the spouse who converts into any such religion ( U/S 13 H.M.A) Under Section 80 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 if the husband gets converted into Non-Hindu faith wife is entitled to live Separately without forfeiting her right of maintenance but if she herself also ceases to be Hindu, she looses her claim of maintenance under the section, But she is entitled under section 24 of H.M.A in 1955 for pedente-lite and permanent alimony. Special Marriage Act 1954 reflects the true sprit of Indian Secularism as it is in consonance with India ‘s heterogeneity and multiplicity of religious faith. Conversion does not make any effect on matrimonial ties as the Act is the secular legislations and itself contemplate inter caste and inter religious marriages. The Indian Divorce Act, 1869- If the husband gets converted into non Christian faith, wife is entitled for divorce but vice versa is not possible. If wife gets converted into non Christian faith husband can not apply for divorce. NANG vs LABYA8 Under Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 Section 4 says if a wife renounces Islam, the marriage does not Ipso-facto dissolve unless the circumstances warrant otherwise. The picture is complete if we account for the fact that most of these laws are aimed to keep the low caste Hindus within the fold of Hinduism. And so while law prohibits conversion, 're-conversion' of low caste Hindus is permissible. If a low caste Hindu who had converted to another faith or any of his descendants reconverts to Hinduism, he might get back his original caste In Kailash Sonkar.
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Category Constitutional Law, Other Articles by - G. ARAVINTHAN