A woman's religion doesn't merge with her husband's after marriage: SC

This ruling comes during the Goolrokh M Gupta case, where a Parsi woman was barre by the 'Valsad Parsi Trust' from performing the last rites of her parents at the Tower of Silence as she married a Hindu man

A woman's religion doesn't merge with her husband's after marriage: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday declared that the law does not sanction the concept of a woman's religion getting merged with her husband's faith after an inter-religion marriage. This ruling comes after the Valsad Zoroastrian Trust decided to bar a Parsi woman from entering the Tower of Silence to perform the last rites of her parents only because she married outside the community.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was dealing with a legal question whether a Parsi woman loses her religious identity if she marries a man from a different religion.

Goolrokh M Gupta has been barred from entering the Tower of Silence by the Valsad trust as she married a Hindu man. The bench said marriage could never be a ground to deprive a woman of her civil rights. 

The bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, asked senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing the 'Valsad Parsi Trust', to take instruction and appraise it on December 14 as to whether it can allow the lady or not.

Goolrokh's advocate on record in the SC is her sister Shiraz Contractor Patodia.

Goolrokh moved to the HC seeking permission to perform her parents' last rites when they died. But the HC ruled in favour of the trust, forcing her to bring the matter to the SC.

The bench considered Jaising's reference to the Special Marriage Act and said, "[The] Special Marriage Act was enacted so that a man and woman professing different faiths can marry and retain their religious identity after marriage. There is no question of merger of woman's religion with that of her husband's. Only she on her own volition can give up her religion..."

The SC told the Valsad trust to eschew rigidity and understand the importance of the affectionate emotions of a child towards her parents.

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