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Religious Conversion | 'Can't Keep Withdrawing & Filing Pleas': SC to Petitioner

The bench is also hearing pleas challenging anti-religious conversion legislations enacted by various states.

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“You cannot keep on withdrawing and filing new petitions,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, told Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia, counsel for BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

A Supreme Court bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing a PIL filed by Upadhyay seeking a curb on allegedly forceful religious conversions. 

Why this matters: As pointed out by Senior Advocate P Wilson, Upadhyay had withdrawn a similar petition in 2021, after a bench led by Justice RF Nariman refused to entertain it. He had also filed and withdrawn petitions on the same subject in the Delhi High Court.

Questioning Upadhyay’s counsel about the same, the CJI also said that objection against the maintainability of his PIL will also be considered at an appropriate stage.

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More Context? Upadhyay’s petition was so far being heard by a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar. It had also been renamed “Issue of Religious Conversion”.

However, it was subsequently listed before the bench headed by the CJI, along with a batch of pleas challenging anti-religious conversion legislations enacted by various states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand etc. 

What else? The apex court also requested Upadhyaya’s counsel to make a formal application and delete paragraphs casting aspersions on members of the Christian and Muslim communities.

This came after the bench was informed by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave that “distasteful and shocking” statements pertaining to Christians and Muslims had been made by the petitioner. In response to Dave’s counsel, Upadhyaya’s counsel had replied that such statements would not be pressed.

What next? The petitions will now be listed after two weeks, the apex court said. 

(With inputs from LiveLaw.)

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