- 10-year imprisonment for interfaith marriage
India has a slew of laws to persecute minorities. The police or armed forces can cordon and search any premises, and arrest any person without a warrant. For instance, the Armed Forces’ Special Powers Act grants the forces impunity. Courts are debarred from looking into their atrocities. Then there are the National Security Act, Public Safety Act, national Investigation Agency, besides the Prevention of Terrorism Act,
Uttar Pradesh, ruled by a Hindu monk chief minister, is in the forefront of states persecuting minorities. He has passed two additional laws.
‘Love Jihad’ is an Islamophobic term akin to Romeo marriage that implies a Muslim marrying a Hindu female. The saffron state government has issued an ordinance to make interfaith marriages between Muslim males and Hindu females a non-bailable offence, punishable with 10-year imprisonment.
India claims to be the “world’s greatest democracy”. But, the shining face of democracy has been disfigured by repressive Indian laws. The cataclysmic impact of these laws is that they clothe police and security or armed forces with phenomenal powers without explicitly abrogating people’s fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution
The Hindu monk chief minister is impervious to the investigation carried out by a Special Investigation Team into 14 cases of interfaith marriage. The team reported that there was no element of coercion or deceit in any of the investigated cases.
The state government issued the ordinance notwithstanding. Two more BJP-ruled states, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, have announced to undertake legislation against “love jihad”.
At least five opposition-ruled states have condemned the law as an encroachment on personal liberty. A Maharashtra Congress minister, Aslam Shaikh, pointed out that the Indian Constitution allows a citizen to marry anyone and adopt any religion. There is already a law in existence against forced marriages.
Earlier, the UP government had notified (on September 15) a Special Security Force to search or arrest any person or place, or arrest any person without a warrant. The Congress termed the Special Security Force Act 2020 as another Rowlatt Act (referring to the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919).
Subsection (1) of Section 10 (“Power to arrest without warrant”) of the UPSSF Act says: “Any member of the force may, without any order from a Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest any person, who voluntarily causes hurt…”, or a person against whom there is a “reasonable suspicion”, or any person, who attempts to “commit a cognizable offence”. The force will also have the right to remove trespassers on the premises under its protection.
However, the Act says that the manner in which the powers under this section would be exercised would be “governed by the rules prescribed in this behalf”. There are as yet no rules to limit misuse of the law.
Special-force law is draconian and against the Roman, Talmudical and Islamic law.
Roman Law: The sixth-century Digest of Justinian (22.3.2) provides, as a general rule of evidence: “Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies”. That is, Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat is there attributed to the second and third century jurist Paul. It was introduced in Roman criminal law by te emperor Antoninus Pius
Talmudical law: According to Talmud, “every man is innocent until proven guilty. Hence, the infliction of unusual rigours on the accused must be delayed until his innocence has been successfully challenged. Thus, in the early stages of the trial, arguments in his defence are as elaborate as with any other man on trial. Only when his guilt has become apparent were the solicitous provisions that had been made to protect defendants waived”.
Islamic law: Similar to that of Roman law, Islamic law also holds the principle that the onus of proof is on the accuser or claimant, based on a hadith documented by Imam Nawawi, “Suspicion” is also highly condemned, this also from a hadith documented by Imam Nawawi as well as Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim.
After the time of Muhammad, the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib has also been cited to say, “Avert the prescribed punishment by rejecting doubtful evidence.”
In legal parlance, the law for special force is unnecessary. In UP, it appears to be malafide and aimed at Muslim persecution. That’s obvious from its definition of an “Installation” that includes “statue” and “monument”. Again, the law defines “Establishment” as both public and private buildings. The law is too wide in scope to frisk away any person without a warrant.
India already has a plethora of laws to protect its sensitive installations like nuclear research centres, industrial undertakings, State Security Corporation , “State and Central Government offices, employees of all such establishments, Public Sector Undertakings, vital installations, financial institutions, religious institutions, cultural institutions, medical Institutions or commercial establishment like malls, multiplexes, clubs and hotels etc.”
The UPSSF’s definition of “Installation”, by contrast, also includes “statue” and “monument”. It defines “Establishment” as both public and private buildings. The infinite scope of the new law is meant to empower the force to persecute minorities with impunity.
India claims to be the “world’s greatest democracy”. But, the shining face of democracy has been disfigured by repressive Indian laws. The cataclysmic impact of these laws is that they clothe police and security or armed forces with phenomenal powers without explicitly abrogating people’s fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution.