Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 1
A BJP leader has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and states to take measures against black magic, superstition and forcible religious conversions.
Highlighting incidents of forceful religious conversion by “carrot and stick” and use of black magic “reported every week throughout the country", petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay – a Delhi BJP leader and an advocate – pointed out that the Supreme Court had in the Sarla Mudgal Case (1995) directed the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of enacting an anti-conversion law.
“The law may provide that every citizen who changes his religion cannot marry another wife unless he divorces his first wife. The provision should be made applicable to every person whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Sikh or a Jain or a Buddhist. Provision may be made for maintenance and succession etc. also to avoid clash of interest after death...This would go a long way to solve the problem and pave the way for a unified civil code,” the petitioner submitted quoting from the Sarla Mudgal verdict.
In fact, the victims of such forcible conversions were often socially and economically under privileged people, particularly belonging to the SC-ST, Upadhyay contended.
Terming forceful as a violation of right to equality, right to life and liberty and right to religion guaranteed under Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution, he said it was also against the principles of secularism – an integral part of basic structure of Constitution.
Accusing the Government of having failed to take any concrete action against these menaces
of the society, he said, the “Centre is empowered to make special provisions for the benefit of women and children under Article 15(3) and freedom of conscience, free profession, practice & propagation of religion under Article 25 is subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions of Part-III.”
Alternately, he demanded that the Law Commission of India should be asked to prepare a report on “Black Magic, Superstition and Religious Conversion within three months in spirit of the Judgment in Sarla Mudgal Case.”
He said being custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, the court should use its plenary constitutional power to pass directions to stop conversion by carrot and the stick.
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