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News‘Why can’t a person choose religion?’ SC nixes PIL against conversion

‘Why can’t a person choose religion?’ SC nixes PIL against conversion

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NEW DELHI: Objecting to a PIL seeking to stop the practice of religious conversion, the Supreme Court reminded the petitioner that people are free to choose their religions and also the Constitution grants them the right to propagate their religion and termed the petition as “publicity interest litigation” while dismissing it.
“What kind of writ petition is this? Why a person above 18 years of age cannot choose religion. Why do you think there is the word ‘propagate’ used in the Constitution? We will impose heavy cost on you,” a three-judge bench of Justices R F Nariman, B R Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy told senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who was appearing for petitioner and BJP functionary Ashwini Upadhyay.
Sensing the fate of the petition, advocate Shankaranarayanan pleaded the bench to allow the petitioner to make a representation to the government and the Law Commission on the issue. But the bench refused to grant him the liberty and said, “It is a publicity interest petition and it is very harmful.”
“Counsel for the petitioner seeks leave of this court to withdraw the writ petition. The writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench said in its order.
Upadhyay also sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of appointing a committee to enact a Conversion of Religion Act to check “abuse of religion”.
“Religious conversion by ‘carrot and stick’ and by ‘hook or crook’ not only offends Articles 14, 21, 25, but is also against the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Petitioner states with dismay that the Centre and states have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, though it is their duty under Article 51A,” the petition said.

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