User asked:

My marriage was solemnized on 10.05.2019 in accordance with the religious rites and ritual of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. On 01.04.2021 my husband asked the me for divorce by mutual consent while stating that he had converted to Islam with an intention of contracting a second marriage with Miss Arkaza, a divorcee with two children in the second week of July 1992. He also has a valid certificate of embracing Islam. Is my marriage invalid



No. The conversion or apostasy does not automatically dissolve a marriage already solemnized under the Hindu Marriage Act but only provides a ground for divorce under Section 18. Till a decree of divorce is passed, the marriage subsists. In the case of Lily Thomas v. Union of India in 2000, on the ground that the judgement in the impugned case violates the fundamental right to life and liberty and freedom to practice any religion enshrined under Articles 20, 21, 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. The court held that the contention of the petitioner that the judgment of SarlaMudgal amounts to the violation of freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion as guaranteed under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution, is farfetched and is alleged by those who hide behind the cloak of religion to escape the law. The court further stipulated that the freedom guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution is such freedom which does not encroach upon similar freedom of the other persons. The petition also claimed that making converts liable for committing polygamy would be against Islam. The apex court observed the ignorance of the petitioners and rightly said that even under Islamic law, purity of marriage is upheld by Prophet Mohammad. The interpretation of Islamic law in the modern sense would never allow such acts in its religion. Islam is a progressive, pious and respected religion that cannot be given a narrow concept as has been allegedly done by the petitioners.