Daughter's Right Cannot Be Terminated Just Because She Married Outside the CommunityIn a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court pointed out that a woman does not mortgage herself to her husband after marriage and her religion does not automatically merge with that of her husband. Appreciating senior advocate Indira Jaisinghs argument that the Special Marriage Act was enacted precisely for the reason that people of different faiths could marry despite family and societal disapproval and still retain their own identity, the court ruled that the woman concerned can give up her religion only on her own volition.
By Sunil Garodia
The case under hearing was of a Parsi woman who was not allowed by the Valsad Zoroastrian Trust to enter the Tower of Silence to perform the last rites of her departed father as she had married outside the community. Calling the decision arbitrary and against women, the court wondered aloud why Parsi men were not similarly barred if they married non-Parsis. The court disagreed with the Bombay High Court ruling which had not granted any relief to the petitioner. The court requested the trust to reconsider its decision by shunning rigidity and understanding filial emotions.
As the Parsi community is shrinking, the elders frown upon Parsis, especially girls, marrying outside the community. To them, it represents a threat which might ultimately lead to the extinction of the Parsi religion. But does the solution lie in enforcing rigid rules? The elders should realize that preventing Goolrokh Gupta from conducting her fathers last rites is the most anti-Parsi thing they could do. Instead, they should devise other ways to keep the flock together and growing.