January 26, 2021 1:32:37 am
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking the transfer of all pending petitions against the law on religious conversions enacted by the state, to the top court.
“We would like to have the benefit of the judgment of the High Court also,” Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, heading a three-judge bench, observed as the state’s plea’s came up before it.
At the outset, the CJI sought to know why the matter should be transferred to the Supreme Court.
Senior Advocate P S Narasimha, appearing for the state, told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, that similar petitions were pending before the apex court — on which the court has already issued notice — as well as the Allahabad High Court.
The CJI responded that the court was cognisant of the High Court cases when it issued the notice and sought to know why it should interfere if the HC is deciding it. “Why should we stop the HC?…We have issued notice does not mean HC cannot decide,” the CJI said adding that people were taking High Courts lightly these days. “The HC is a constitutional court,” he said.
The state then sought permission to withdraw the plea, which the court allowed.
The Supreme Court on Jan 6 had issued notice on two petitions — one by Advocates Vishal Thakre, Abhay Singh Yadav and Pranvesh, a law researcher and the other by NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace — against The Uttarakhand, Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 and The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
The laws have courted controversy over its provisions regarding religious conversion for the purposes of marriage.
The Supreme Court has however declined to grant any interim stay and said it will hear the matter.
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