Special Marriage Act Judgment Sends A Message to The State?

Will the Allahabad High Court judgment on Special Marriage Act be able make a change on ground as well? 

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Amid reports of rampant harassment and arrests of interfaith couples over anti-love jihad legislations, came an important judgment from the Allahabad High Court, which allows interfaith couples to have a safer registration of their marriages under the Special Marriage Act.

On 14 January, a single-judge bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary held that there is no need to mandatorily publish notices for marriages under the Special Marriage Act as is currently required.

The court observed that such mandatory notices invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy and also affect a couple's freedom to marry a person of their choice, due to interference from state and non-state actors.

What this judgment does, is uphold right to privacy and individual autonomy by leaving it up to the couple if they want to request a marriage officer to publish the notice of their union or to not publish it.

This, coming at a time when fringe right-wing mobs and even the police have started interfering in unions of interfaith couples in states like Uttar Pradesh, makes it a significant judgment.

While this is legal pushback against interference in interfaith marriages under Special Marriage Act, will this be able make a change on the ground as well? And can this judgment in anyway be able to challenge love jihad ordinances?

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