New Delhi, Apr 9 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today observed that a person above the age of 18 years is free to choose a religion of his or her choice, while stressing that there is a reason why the word propagate is there in the Constitution.
A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, while disposing of a petition seeking directions to ban black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, while referring to Article 25, said, “There is a reason why the word propagate is there in the Indian Constitution”.
Terming the petition as nothing, but a ‘publicity interest litigation’ of a ‘harmful kind,’ the Bench warned petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay that heavy costs will be imposed, if the matter was pressed.
The BJP leader then proceeded to withdraw the plea. He said he will now approach the Law Ministry and the Law Commission for enactment of laws to redress his grievances.
The petition alleged that incidents of forceful religious conversion by “carrot and stick” or by “hook or crook,” besides the use of black magic, were reported every week throughout the country. The victims of such forceful conversions were often socially and economically underprivileged people, particularly belonging to the SC-ST, the PIL noted.
Such practices not only offended the Articles 14, 21, 25 of the Constitution, but were also against the principles of secularism, which was an integral part of basic structure of the Constitution. Mr Upadhyay further alleged that both the Central and state governments have failed to take any concrete action against these menaces of the society, though it was their duty under Article 51A.
Advocate Upadhyay further in his plea sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of appointing a Committee to enact a Conversion of Religion Act to check the abuse of religion. ILNS/SNG/RJ