SC agrees to examine validity of 'Love Jihad' laws of UP, Uttarakhand

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday agreed to examine controversial new laws of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand regulating religious conversions due to inter-faith marriages.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde refused, however, to stay the controversial provisions of the laws and issued notices to both state governments on two different petitions.

The pleas, filed by advocate Vishal Thakre and others and an NGO 'Citizen for Justice and Peace', have challenged the constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 which regulate religious conversions of inter-faith marriages.

At the outset, the top court asked the petitioners to approach the Allahabad High Court after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that it is already seized of the matter.

The bench said that this is not the transfer petition where it can transfer to itself all the cases on the law after one of the petitioner said that the issue should be examined by the top court.

Senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for the NGO, referred to the judgement of Justice (retd) Deepak Gupta and said that similar laws were being made in various states.

He sought stay of the provisions of the law and said that people are being "lifted" by authorities in the middle of wedding ceremonies.

Some of the provisions of these laws are oppressive and horrible in nature and require prior consent of the government to marry which was "absolutely obnoxious", Singh added.

The bench said that it was issuing notice and sought response from both the state governments within four weeks.

When Singh insisted for stay of provisions, the CJI said that now stay is sought on some provisions without hearing the states.

"How can it be done?" the bench said.

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