Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Dec 13, 2020-
A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed before the Allahabad High Court challenging the constitutional validity of Uttar Pradesh government’s ordinance against religious conversions.
The court is yet to admit the plea.
An advocate, Saurabh Kumar, has moved the court stating that the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, is both morally and constitutionally invalid.
He has requested the court to declare this law as ‘ultra vires of the Constitution’. Besides, the petitioner has requested the court to direct the authorities not to take any coercive action in pursuance of the ordinance which was promulgated last month.
According to the petition, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had, on October 31, 2020, made a statement that his government will bring a law against ‘love jihad’, a term used to discredit marriages between the Muslim men and Hindu women, and described it as part of a conspiracy to promote conversion of the Hindu women.
In his statement, the Chief Minister had referred to a single bench judgment of the Allahabad high court in the case which observed that religious conversion just for the sake of marriage was invalid.
The petitioner pointed out that a few days later, a division bench of the high court overruled the single bench verdict.
The division bench in this case held that the right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty. The division bench had observed this while holding the single bench judgment as ‘not good in law’.
It has also been submitted that these provisions give the state policing powers over a citizen’s choice of life partner or religion and are thus positioned against the fundamental rights to individual autonomy, privacy, human dignity and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution (right to life and personal liberty). (Agency)