Bhopal: State govt determined to ensure no illegal conversions, says MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra

Bhopal: State govt determined to ensure no illegal conversions, says MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra

Several Public interest litigations (PILs) have been filed challenging anti-conversion laws passed by some state governments.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, January 04, 2023, 06:09 PM IST
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MP Home minister Narottam Mishra | Representative Image

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Wednesday said that the government is determined to ensure there are "no illegal conversions" in the state.

"The subject of conversion is under consideration in the Supreme Court. The state government is determined to ensure that there is no illegal conversion in the state. We will present our case in the Supreme Court strongly," Mishra said.

In Monday's hearing, the Supreme Court adjourned for two weeks the hearing of a batch of pleas challenging state laws regulating religious conversions due to interfaith marriage.

The top court will hear the matter on January 16.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud asked the political parties to file written notes regarding the status of the hearing in the High Courts in their respective states and also asked them to apprise it about how many such petitions are pending in High Courts.

Several Public interest litigations (PILs) have been filed challenging anti-conversion laws passed by some state governments.

Some of the petitions were filed by advocates Vishal Thakre, AS Yadav, researcher Pranvesh and an NGO, 'Citizens for Justice and Peace.' The top court on January 6, 2021, had agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a spate of laws enacted by state governments -- in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand -- criminalising religious conversion via marriage and mandate prior official clearance before marrying into another faith.

The apex court had, however, not stayed the implementation of the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.

It had also permitted the NGO to make Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh parties to its pending petition by which it had challenged some controversial state laws regulating conversions due to interfaith marriages.

The apex court, while hearing pleas challenging the laws, issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments.

The pleas in the apex court stated that "rampaging mobs are lifting off people in the middle of wedding ceremonies", buoyed by the enactment of the laws.

The laws were against public policy and society at large, they added.

The Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind has sought to be made a party to the case, saying the Uttar Pradesh law violates the fundamental rights of Muslim youth, who are being 'targeted and demonised'.

The pleas, filed by advocates and the NGO, had challenged the Constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, which regulate the religious conversions of people in interfaith marriages.

The controversial Uttar Pradesh Ordinance relates to not only to interfaith marriages but all religious conversions and lays down elaborate procedures for any person who wishes to convert to another religion.

The Uttarakhand government, in its laws, has a provision of a two-year jail term to any person or persons found guilty of religious conversion through "force or allurement".

The pleas stated that the laws passed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand against 'Love Jihad' and punishments thereof may be declared ultra vires and null and void because they disturb the basic structure of the Constitution as laid down by the law. 

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