'Forced religious conversion serious issue’: Supreme Court asks Centre to file affidavit

Published on Dec 05, 2022 04:19 PM IST

Stating that it forced conversion is against the Constitution, a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar posted the matter for hearing on December 12.

The Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo)
The Supreme Court of India. (PTI File Photo)
By, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed that forced religious conversion is a “serious issue” and asked the Centre to file a detailed affidavit after collecting information from the state governments on anti-conversion laws. Stating that it forced conversion is against the Constitution, a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar posted the matter for hearing on December 12.

The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking direction to the Centre and states to take stringent steps to control fraudulent religious conversion by “intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits”.

The Centre told the court it is collecting information from states on religious conversion through such means. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought time to furnish detailed information on the issue, news agency PTI reported.

He said statutory the regime would determine whether a person is converting due to some change in belief. The apex court acknowledged forced religious conversion “is a very serious matter”.

PTI reported that when a lawyer questioned the maintainability of the plea, the bench said, "Do not be so technical. We are here to find a solution. We are here for a cause. We are here to set things right. If the purpose of the charity is good then it is welcome but what is required to be considered is the intention.

"Do not take it as adversarial. It is a very serious issue. Ultimately it is against our Constitution. When everyone stays in India, they have to act per the culture of India," the bench observed.

The apex court will now take up the matter on December 12.

Last month, the top court had stated that forced religious conversions are “dangerous” and they affect the security of the nation, as it urged the Union government to “step in” and apprise the court of the measures being taken to prevent such occurrences.

On September 23, the court issued notices to the Union ministries of home affairs, and law and justice, to file their counter affidavits. However, there was no affidavit filed by the Centre when the matter was taken up by the bench in November.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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