SC to Hear Pleas Against Anti-Conversion Law; Issued Notice to UP

The matter will next be heard after four weeks.

Updated
Law
2 min read
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government on 24 November passed a new ordinance to tackle ‘love jihad’.      
i

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, issuing notices to the two states on Wednesday, 6 January.

However, no stay on the laws has been ordered by the apex court on Wednesday.

According to LiveLaw, the CJI also repeatedly said:

“The challenge is already pending in high courts. Why don’t you go there? We are not saying you have a bad case. But you must approach the high courts in the first instance instead of coming to SC directly”.

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 matter will next be heard after four weeks.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE TOP COURT?

According to LiveLaw, bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna did not initially appear inclined to entertain the petitions, suggesting that the petitioners should approach the respective high courts.

However, the bench decided to hear the petition when the advocates appearing for the petitioners stated that they are challenging the laws of two states, as the laws were creating many problems in the society. Further, the lawyers said that more states like Madhya Pradesh and Haryana were considering similar laws.

Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav further, according to Live Law, said that when cases are pending in more than one high courts, it was appropriate for the Supreme Court to consider them.

Following these submissions, according to Live Law, the top court finally agreed to hear the case.

However to the petitioners’ prayers for an interim stay, CJI responded by saying:

“You are asking for a relief which we cannot entertain under Article 32. Whether provision is arbitrary or oppressive needs to be seen. This is the problem when you come directly to the Supreme Court.”   

WHAT DO THE PETITIONS SAY?

The petitions have challenged the constitutional validity of the Yogi Adityanath government’s Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.

The CJP’s petition, filed through Advocate Tanima Kishore, according to Live Law, reads:

“The Act and Ordinance seemed to be premised on conspiracy theories and assume that all conversions are illegally forced upon individuals who may have attained the age of majority. It mandates that a series of complicated procedures to be followed before and after conversion, taking the State into confidence to “ensure” that the act was an informed and voluntary decision by the individual. These provisions in both the impugned Act and Ordinance place a burden on individuals to justify their personal decisions for State approval.”

It further states that the Act and the Ordinance both violate Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.

The petition also submitted that Article 25 of the Constitution allows the ‘right to convert’ to any religion of your choice.

The other PIL sought a nullification of the laws, pointing out that “they disturb the basic structure of the Constitution of India.”

(With inputs from LiveLaw and Bar & Bench.)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!