Plea in Bombay HC seeks removal of NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma for promoting anti-Muslim theory “love jihad”

    A civil writ petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking directions for the removal of Chairperson of the National Commission of Women (NCW) Rekha Sharma, based on statements made through her official Twitter handle.

    The petition filed by activist Saket S Gokhale claims that Sharma’s mindset was not befitting someone who is in charge for preventing crime against women.

    Gokhale seeks directions from the High Court to remove Rekha Sharma from her post as Chairperson of NCW, under the provisions of the National Commission of Women Act, 1990, for violating Articles 14, 21, and 25 of the Indian Constitution.

    The genesis of the petition is a statement issued by Sharma on her personal Twitter handle averring that she had met with the Governor of Maharashtra to discuss issues pertaining to women safety and rise in “love jihad” cases.

    Her tweet reads, “Our Chairperson @sharmarekha met with Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, His Excellency, Governor of Maharashtra and discussed problems related to #womensafety in the state including defunct One Stop Centres, molestation & rape of women patients at #COVID centres & rise in love jihad cases”.

    The plea stated that, “by raising the baseless communal concept of “love jihad”, the Chairperson of Respondent no. 2 has hindered with the freedom of inter-faith couples to practise their faith freely while marrying each other without the fear of persecution and targeting based on religious grounds by Respondent no. 2.”

    The plea also stated that, “Issuing a statement on her official Twitter handle is not a simple casual conversation but a sign of an official policy goal of demonizing inter-faith marriages.”

    Gokhale has asserted in his petition that the Chairperson established her inability to act and fulfil her duties in a non-partisan, secular manner.