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Love jihad laws: Supreme Court asks PUCL to approach High Courts hearing the statutes

The Supreme Court today has asked the petitioner Vishal Thakre and NGO PUCL to withdraw their petitions and approach the High Courts.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the petitioner Vishal Thakre and NGO PUCL to withdraw their petitions and approach the High Courts, which were hearing the challenges to the so-called love jihad laws in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the Allahabad High Court and Uttarakhand High Court are entertaining the petition and the Apex Court can have the benefit of the High Court’s view.

The court was hearing the petition filed by advocates Vishal Thakre, Abhay Yadav and Pranvesh, a law researcher and NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberties, seeking a direction to declare the ordinances, the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 to be ultra-vires and direct authorities not to give effect to the ordinances passed by the concerned governments.

The Court had earlier issued notice on the petitions on January 6, 2021, on the pleas which had alleged that the ordinance passed by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is against the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and it will create fear in the society who are not part of love jihad as they can be falsely implicated in the ordinance.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh appearing for the petitioners submitted that innocent people are being targeted due to these legislations. 

However, the Court said they can approach the High Courts as they are already entertaining similar petitions. Following, which the Court has granted liberty to the petitioners to withdraw and approach the High Court. 

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The Apex Court had previously refused to stay the operation of the laws and only issued notice in the matterThe bench had asked the petitioner why didn’t he approach the HC first. “This challenge is also pending before the Allahabad HC and Uttarakhand HC. Why don’t you go there?” the bench questioned. “We are not saying that you have a bad case but you should first approach the HC,” the Court had previously pointed out. 

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