The Madras High Court bench here has permitted a 19-year-old Hindu girl, who converted to Islamism and married a Muslim man, to go with her husband’s family after dismissing a habeas corpus petition filed by the girl’s mother.

K. Geetha of Tuticorin had moved the court claiming that her daughter K. Pavithra was illegally detained by one Jakkariya in an Islamic institution at Tuticorin. According to the petitioner, Jakkariya was compelling her daughter to convert to Islam against her wishes.

When the case came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising S. Tamilvanan and V.S. Ravi, the Tuticorin police produced Pavithra at the court. She told the judges that she married a Muslim man named Dhapiveeth and had voluntarily converted to Islamism. Her conversion was not under any compelling circumstances and her mother was aware of her marriage to Dhapiveeth, she submitted. The police also submitted that Mrs. Geetha had earlier registered a complaint with the Ernakulam police that her daughter was missing and a case was registered under Section 57 of the Kerala Police Act. But, the case was closed on the ground that Pavithra had married Dhapiveeth, the police said.

In their order, the judges noted that because the petitioner’s daughter is a major, ‘she is entitled to exercise her fundamental right of marrying any competent person’.

Conversion of religion is a legal right and because the conversion of the petitioner’s daughters to Islamism was not under any compelling circumstances, the habeas corpus petition is not legally sustainable, the judges ruled. Therefore, they dismissed the petition.

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