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Religious Conversion: Supreme Court directs transfer of all petitions challenging anti -conversion laws in different states to self

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The Supreme Court has asked all the parties which challenged anti-conversion laws of various States, for filing a single common transfer petition for transfer of same petitions pending before various High Courts to the Supreme court.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala today passed an order after finding that five such pleas are placed before the Allahabad High Court, seven before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, two of the similar plea are before the Gujarat High Court and Jharkhand High Courts, three before the Himachal Pradesh, and one each before Karnataka and Uttarakhand High Courts.

The Court said that keeping in view the pendency of matters before different High Courts, a transfer petition will be filed before this court for tagging and transferring of all cases before this court.

The Apex Court has also asked for Listing the matters after 2 weeks.

The Apex Court was currently hearing petitions which were filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind that challenged against the religious conversions laws in different States.

The Court was also hearing the Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat government appeals which challenged the interim orders passed by the respective High Courts in similar matters.

The Supreme Court has today instructed that if a transfer plea is filed in two weeks, it will be listed along with other matters.

The Court also asked for certain offending statements to be deleted which were made against thereligious minorities in one of the petitions filed by BJP leader and advocate, Ashwini Upadhyay.

A bench led by Justice MR Shah was earlier hearing the plea by Upadhyay against forceful religious conversions, later on, it was shifted to the CJI-led bench.

In the last hearing, the bench led by Justice Shah, after the request by Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde, changed the cause-title of the case to In Re: Issue of Religious Conversions.

Today, during the hearing, the Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave took objection to certain statements which were a part of the petition by Upadhyay against minority communities.

Dave in his petition said that the petition by Upadhyay casts aspersions on Muslims and Christians as rapists and murderers.

He added that such petitions are being entertained in Supreme Court and this sends a horrible message.

Arvind Datar, the Senior advocate who appeared for Upadhyay, said that he would not be pressing those submissions.

The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud asked Mr. Datar for taking steps to delete those paragraphs.

Senior Counsel CU Singh alleged that the plea by Mr Upadhyay was based on WhatsApp forward and YouTube videos.

The Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Madhya Pradesh government has objected to Dave’s arguments and said that Dave is a potential intervenor and the party should speak.

The Solicitor General asked for the segregation of SLP filed by Madhya Pradesh government.

Mehta also asked for the plea by Centre for Justice and Peace in Gujarat matter and said that we have serious objections on the locus of CJP and serious objections on merits of the party,

The Court said that it will hear all SLPs and posted the matter for consideration next on January 30.

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