It Is A Serious Issue: Supreme Court On Plea Against Deceitful Religious Conversions
The Supreme Court today adjourned the petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking directions to Centre to take steps to control fraudulent religious conversions to December 5.
Upadhayay appeared before the Court today in person and sought issuance of notice to states. He informed the Court that an additional affidavit has been filed by him placing additional facts before the Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Center and submitted that the Center has filed a reply. He submitted that issuing notice to states is a "recipe for delay".
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appeared on behalf of an intervenor and submitted that the petition is not maintainable. He submitted the same petition was filed twice earlier and withdrawn.
Upadhyay opposed the plea for intervention saying that there will be a flood of applications if the present application is allowed. He submitted that the intervenor himself is a person who has converted from Hinduism to Christianity.
The Bench of Justice M. R. Shah and Justice C. T. Ravikumar said that the issue involved in the case is a serious issue. The Bench asked Sanjay Hedge whether his client is supporting forceful religious conversion.
The plea filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay also seeks direction to the Law Commission of India to prepare a report and a bill to control religious conversion by intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits.
On the previous hearing, the Centre was directed to file its response to the plea. The Court had observed that religious conversion by force or allurement is a very serious issue that can affect the freedom of religion and conscience and the security of the nation.
Upadhyay has said in his petition filed through Advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey that "There is not even on district which is free of religious conversion by 'hook and crook and the carrot and the stick.' Incidents are reported every week throughout the country where conversion is done by intimidating, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts/monetary benefits and also using black magic, superstition, miracles but Centre has not taken stringent steps to stop this menace."