POLICING INTERFAITH MARRIAGES: CONSTITUTIONAL INFIDELITY OF THE LOVE JIHAD ORDINANCE

The Indian Constitution guarantees that individuals have the freedom to choose their partners free from state interference. However, the Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadesh, 2020 prohibits religious conversion to the extent that it assumes all conversions are illegal, which may have a deleterious impact on inter-faith marriages involving consenting adults. This essay argues that the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Ordinance forbidding religious conversion are vague, imprecise, and incommensurate for addressing forceful or unlawful conversion for marriages, do not demonstrate any reasonable relation to the object of the legislation, and are constitutionally repugnant. It concludes that by conferring police powers on state agencies to intervene in interfaith marriages, the Uttar Pradesh Ordinance erodes citizens’ freedom to choose a partner, individual autonomy, privacy, and personal liberty enshrined under the Constitution.