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Person above 18 free to choose religion of his or her choice: Supreme Court on religious conversion

"We don't see a reason why a person above 18 years can't choose his or her religion," a Bench headed by Justice RF Nariman said, terming Upadhyay's PIL a "publicity interest litigation".

Person above 18 free to choose religion of his or her choice: Supreme Court on religious conversion-dnm
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Bengaluru, First Published Apr 9, 2021, 4:45 PM IST
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Maintaining that an adult is free to choose a religion of his or her choice, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a BJP leader's PIL seeking directions to ban black magic, superstition and fraudulent religious conversions.

A bench of Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy told senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana, 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."

"We don't see a reason why a person above 18 years can't choose his or her religion," a Bench headed by Justice RF Nariman said, terming Upadhyay's PIL a "publicity interest litigation".

It further told Gopal Sankaranarayana, "there is a reason why the word propagate is there in the Constitution".

BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, the petitioner in the case, then proceeded to withdraw the plea.

He will now approach law Ministry and Law Commission for enactment of laws to redress his grievances.

Highlighting incidents of forceful religious conversion by "carrot and stick" and use of black magic “reported every week throughout the country, Upadhyay had pointed out that the Supreme Court had in the Sarla Mudgal Case (1995) directed the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of enacting an anti-conversion law.

The Central and State government have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, though it’s their duty under Article 51A, the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey said.

The bench also refused to grant permission to a representation to the law commission and said, "no we can't grant you this permission."

It dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

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