SC AGAINST STATES’ LEGISLATION AGAINST CONVERSION

  • Attorney-General R. Venkataramani on Monday in the Supreme Court raised serious objections to petitions being filed in the Supreme Court against various States’ religious conversion laws.
  • “These are State legislations and the State High Courts are hearing them. There are petitions pending there and the same petitioners have now filed petitions in the Supreme Court… I have serious objections to that,” Mr. Venkataramani submitted before a Bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
  • The government has also opposed the locus of Citizens for Justice and Peace, an NGO associated with activist Teesta Setalvad, in approaching the Supreme Court against religious conversion laws.
  • The NGO, represented by senior advocate C.U. Singh, has argued that these State laws amount to undue interference in a person’s right of choice of faith and life partner.
  • Justice Chandrachud had earlier asked the petitioners to file petitions seeking to transfer their cases pending in the various High Courts to the Supreme Court for an authoritative ruling.
  • The case concerns anti-conversion enactments of nine States, including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Karnataka.
  • Singh said each State’s law is used by the other as a “building block” to make a more “virulent” law for itself.
  • The court agreed to hear all the petitions in the case on February 3.
  • One of the main petitions in the batch is by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which has asked the court to declare religious conversion laws, particularly of five States, as unconstitutional, saying they bring the personal decision of an individual to adopt another faith under state scrutiny.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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