The Supreme Court of India on Monday, 25 January, turned down Uttar Pradesh government's application to transfer to itself the pleas filed in Allahabad High Court challenging the new anti-conversion ordinance.
"If the Allahabad High Court is going to decide the cases, why should we interfere," remarked a Bench headed Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and dismissed the application as withdrawn, reported LiveLaw.
“We have issued notice does not mean High Court cannot decide. People are making light of High Courts these days. High Court is a constitutional court.”Supreme Court
On 6 January, the Supreme Court had issued notices on the petitions challenging the ordinances against religious conversions for the sake of marriage in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Uttar Pradesh government meanwhile had submitted a counter affidavit before the Allahabad High Court asking the Chief Justice to adjourn the matter sine die. Additional Advocate General Manish Goyal had said that since the top court has already issued notices, it would not be appropriate for the high court to continue the hearing.
What Do The Petitions Say?
The laws, which seek to regulate inter-faith marriages and religious conversions, have been criticised for being based on the right-wing conspiracy theory of ‘love jihad’ of Muslim men luring Hindu women to marry for conversion.
The law has been challenged by petitioners who say that it is a narrative spun to undermine principles of pluralism and diversity in the society. The petition also alleges that the laws discriminate against women and interfaith couples, taking away their agency and are, therefore, bad in law and substance.
The petitioners allege that the law potentially suppresses an individual’s right to freedom of choice and right to freedom of religion and protection against discrimination.
Thry add that it violates Article 14 (Right to Equality), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, etc), 21 (Right to life) and 25 (Freedom of conscience, etc) of the Constitution, according to Live Law.