February 4, 2021 2:07:58 am
The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to entertain petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the religious conversion laws enacted by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand saying it would like the state High Courts, where similar petitions are pending, to decide first.
“We are on a question of jurisdiction. The Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Courts are hearing this. We will have the benefit of the HC judgment”, a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, adding that this was why it had earlier rejected a plea by the Uttar Pradesh government to transfer all such pending matters to the Supreme Court.
Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for a petitioner, said innocent people are being targeted under the laws and that Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat were also about to bring similar laws.
“We are not disputing the importance but we are saying let the HC complete hearing it”, responded the CJI.
The SC asked the petitioners, Advocate Vishal Thakre and People’s Union for Civil Liberties, who had challenged The Uttarakhand, Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 and The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Ordinance, 2020 to approach the concerned High Court and allowed them to withdraw their pleas.
The plea by Thakre and others contended that the laws “curtail the Fundamental Rights of the citizen of India…disturbs the Basic Structure of the Constitution as laid down by the Law”.
Their plea says the Act and the ordinance are “against the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954 and it will create fear in the society” as even those who are not a part of any such activity can be falsely implicated.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines