Wednesday, March 3, 2021

UP withdraws transfer petition on unlawful conversion ordinance from SC

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The state wanted these petitions to be heard along with two petitions pending in the Supreme Court on which notice has already been issued.

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 02:17 PM IST

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday withdrew its transfer petition on the contentious law prohibiting conversion from one religion to another by marriage from the Supreme Court. The state government had filed this petition asking for the transfer of those challenging the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, from Allahabad High Court to the top court.

The state wanted these petitions to be heard along with two petitions pending in SC on which notice has already been issued. “By issuing notice we have not said that no HC can hear the matter. People these days are taking high courts lightly,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said.

Senior advocate PS Narasimha, who appeared for the state government, told the top court that the petitions in SC are coming up on February 2 while those in the high court will come up on February 6. “If Allahabad HC is seized of the case we will not hear it before that on February 2… We have issued notice not to trigger this transfer petition,” the bench said.

As the bench was not inclined, UP sought permission to withdraw its plea.

The Uttar Pradesh ordinance titled “Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020”, which was promulgated on November 24, outlaws religious conversions by marriage, coercion, deceit or enticement.

The law prescribes a jail term varying between one to five years, in addition to fines of up to 15,000 for those convicted under it. The jail term goes up to 10 years and fine up to 25,000 for conversions of women belonging to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe communities or who are minors.

The law was promulgated about a month after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath vowed to end “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing activists to describe marital relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women.

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