The Supreme Court today adjourned to July 18, a batch of pleas against anti-conversion laws of several states regulating religious conversion due to interfaith marriages and matters related to deceitful religious conversions.

The Court refused to pass an order staying the anti-conversion law of Himachal Pradesh at this stage.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice PS Narasimha permitted that if a state is a respondent in more than one plea, it can file one common counter affidavit and adopt it in the rest of the cases and that the same applies to transfer petitions also. The Court extended the time to file counter affidavits by three weeks. The rejoinder is to be filed within two weeks thereafter.

Senior Advocate CU Singh appearing for the petitioner submitted that Himachal Pradesh has re-enacted the same provision that was earlier struck down by the Himachal Pradesh High Court. He prayed for a stay of that provision.

The Court said that it is a matter of merit and "we can't just stay a statute like that". Singh then sought an early hearing of the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the state was directed to file replies and the Centre has not received any replies from states.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave submitted that forty people who were running a hospital in Uttar Pradesh are on a run and that the issue will have to be decided by the Court.

"We will decide Mr. Dave", the CJI replied.

On February 6, the Supreme Court ruled out the possibility of a separate hearing on the PIL filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, in his personal capacity, against fraudulent religious conversions.

“"I am neither supporting the state laws nor opposing them. My petition deals with separate issue of fraudulent religious conversions," submitted Upadhyay.

"All the petitions are before us on March 17, 2023," the CJI had said.

During an earlier hearing on January 30, Attorney General R. Venkataramani submitted that he has "serious objections" to the Supreme Court hearing the pleas challenging state legislations, bypassing the High Courts.

Senior Advocate CU Singh for a petitioner, Citizens for Justice and Peace challenging the state laws sought that notice be issued and stay be granted, stating that new laws are being made in states, each more virulent than the previous one.

He also objected to the submission of the Centre that it wants to file an affidavit challenging the locus standi of a petitioner, stating that the Centre has not filed its pleadings in cases where notice has been issued and is seeking to file pleadings where notice has not been issued.

The Supreme Court has been hearing petition filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace, and other connected petitions, challenging the validity of the enactments in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

Also, the Supreme Court is hearing two Special Leave Petitions filed respectively by the States of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh challenging interim orders passed by the High Courts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh granting a stay on certain provisions of the State enactments, namely, the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003 and the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 2021.

A Christian man from the Roman Catholic Denomination had approached the Supreme Court filing a Writ Petition seeking action against deceitful religious conversions done by other Christian denominations.

Earlier, when a bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice C T Ravikumar was hearing the batch of cases against deceitful religious conversions, the Court had asked the Attorney General to assist the Court in the matter.

Cause Title- Citizens for Justice and Peace v. The State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.