Supreme Court (SC) to hear pleas challenging state laws regulating inter-faith marriages
Several Public interest litigations (PILs) were filed challenging anti-conversion laws passed by some state governments
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is slated to hear on January 2 a batch of pleas challenging state laws regulating religious conversions due to interfaith marriage.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha will hear the case on the re-opening of the courts. Several Public interest litigations (PILs) were 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 – criminalizing 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 the 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 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. (ANI)