Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Religious Conversion: Supreme Court seeks assistance of Attorney General in petition against minority religions

The Supreme Court has asked Attorney General for India R Venkataramani for help in a plea that seeks steps against alleged forceful and deceitful religious conversions in the country.

A bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar, have turned the Tamil Nadu governments opposition against a fresh petition in the matter that seeks National Investigation of India (NIA) probe into the death of a student in Thanjavur.

Tamil Nadu counsel of state said that the fresh plea was baseless and the Court should not entertain the same.

Senior Advocate P Wilson who represented Tamil Nadu submitted that it is a politically motivated PIL. There is no question of such conversions in Tamil Nadu. Let the legislature decide such matters.

The bench however said that it has already decided to examine the issue which is important.

Justice Shah said that bench is concerned for the entire country, all the States. If it is happening in your State, it is bad. If not, good. Do not see it as targeting one State. Do not make it political.

The bench said that it will not remove the comments against certain minority religions in the petition.

In one of the previous hearings, Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for a minority religious bodies, had pointed how the petition contained certain abusive allegations against minority religions.

The petitioner counsel had assured the Court that those submissions won’t be pursued.

BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay in the plea had sought stringent steps to tackle forceful religious conversions.

The public interest litigation (PIL) petition said that the Central government has failed to control the menace of fraudulent and deceitful religious conversion which are rampant across the country.

On December 5, the top court had said that it would look into the religious conversion in the guise of charity, stating that the intention of persons offering such charity will have to be examined in such cases.

The Court had also remarked that those in India have to act as per its culture and Constitution.

The affidavit by the Central Government said that fundamental right to practice and propagate any religion under the Constitution does not include any fundamental right to convert people.

The bench at the request of Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde today has changed the causetitle of the case to In Re: Issue of Religious Conversions.

The Court has asked the Tamil Nadu to file its response to the fresh plea on Thanjavur suicide.

It further asked the Attorney General to assist in the matter either as Amicus Curiae or otherwise.

The matter will be heard again in February.


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