The Supreme Court on Wednesday has sought the Centre & states’ response on a plea filed by 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 Apex Court refused to stay the operation of law and issued only notice in the matter.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian has 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,” it said.
The petitioner replied that the issue is pending before different HC’s and the Apex Court has jurisdiction to entertain the case. Moreover, the society was being affected by the act. The CJI asked if only Uttarakhand and Allahabad societies were being affected?
The petitioner said the state of Madhya Pradesh has also passed a similar law. Senior Counsel C.U. Singh, appearing for another petitioner, also submitted that there are many states where the law has been passed. He urged the bench to issue notice on plea of stay.
“What is happening today is that people are being picked up and it has become an instrument of oppression,” observed the Court.
The bench issued notice to the Centre and the State of Uttar Pradesh and State of Uttarakhand returnable in 4 weeks but made it clear that the Supreme Court should not be approached for such matters.
The court was hearing the petition filed by advocates Vishal Thakre, Abhay Yadav and Pranvesh, a law researcher and “Citizens for Justice and Peace”, 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 Ultravires and direct authorities not to give effect to the ordinances passed by the concerned governments.
The petitioners have submitted that the ordinance passed by the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand is against the provisions 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.
It has further been submitted,
“This ordinance can become a potent tool in the hands of bad elements of the society to use this ordinance to falsely implicate anyone in this ordinance and there are probabilities of falsely implicate persons who are not involved in any such acts and it will be a grave injustice if this ordinance is passed.”