India Persons above 18 free to choose religion: Supreme Court...

Persons above 18 free to choose religion: Supreme Court of India on religious conversion

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The Supreme Court of India ruled that persons above 18 years of age are free to choose their religion.

A bench of Justice RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy rejected the plea seeking orders to control black magic and religious conversion.

The bench said that they are unable to find any reason that an adult can’t be allowed to choose their religion.

The court told senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for petitioner advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, “What kind of writ petition is this under Article 32. We will impose a heavy cost on you. You argue on your own risk”, quoted by NDTV as saying.

The court further reiterates, “There is a reason why the word ‘propagate’ is there in the constitution.”

Advocate Sankaranarayana sought permission to withdraw the petition and make representation to the government and the law commission.

However, the court dismissed the permission to represent the case to the law commission and told the lawyer, “No, we can’t grant this permission to you.”

The petition was dismissed by the court as it was later withdrawn.

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay has requested the Court to constitute and appoint a committee to keep a check on the enactment of the Conversion of Religion Act on the premise that sees the religious conversion as ‘abuse of religion’, as the petition stated.

In his petition, he said “Conversion by force or by ‘hook and crook’ not only violates Articles 14, 21, 25 but is contradictory to the secular principles, which is the foundation of the Indian Constitution”.

According to the petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey he argued, “Petitioner states with dismay that the Centre and States have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, even though they are duty-bound to do so under Article 51A”.

The petition also alleged that the Government failed to take any coercive steps against conversion and the people involved in it.

Moreover, the petition also laid the suggestions to control the conversion and added, “The Centre may enact a law with a minimum imprisonment of 3 years that may extend up to 10 years and a heavy fine may be imposed”.

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