SC To PIL Petitioner; Asks To Delete Statements against Minorities - jamiat Ulama-i-Hind
The Chief Justice allowed Jamiat's lawyer Kapil Sibal to file a petition related to transferring the cases of various High Courts to the Supreme Court.
New Delhi, January 16: The Supreme Court today heard a bathe of petitions related to the "Religious Conversion Act" enacted by several states based on the bogey of Love Jihad. In this case, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, M R Shamshad AoR, Mr. Niaz Farooqui, Advocate appeared for the Jamiat (Maulana Mahmood Madani JUH president)
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing a PIL petition filed by Upadhyay in 2022 seeking steps against forceful and deceitful religious conversions.
While on the one hand, the issue of offensive words used in the petition of Ashwini Upadhyay related to Muslims and Christians was raised in the court, on the other hand, the matter of clubbing all the ongoing cases related to it in various high courts was also discussed.
The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind challenged the validity of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003 and its amendment in 2021. On the Petition of Jamiat, a certain portion of the said Amendment Act was stayed by the High Court of Gujarat by order dated 19.08.2021. The Gujarat State filed SLP in the Supreme Court and the same is pending and was listed today along with a few other Petitions filed challenging the legality of a similar law passed by other states.
The Supreme Court today said that since the matter is pending in various courts, the merits of the law cannot be discussed. In response to this Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal informed As regards the petitions challenging anti-conversion laws of States the bench that they are intending to file a petition to transfer to the Supreme Court the petitions pending in various High Courts challenging these laws. The Court granted liberty to Mr. Sibal (for Jamiat) to take steps to seek transfer of all the matters pending in different High Courts challenging similar laws.
Attorney General for India R Venkataramani, whose assistance was sought by Justice Shah's bench last week in the religious conversion matter, suggested that it will be appropriate that the High Courts hear the matter, as the validity of various laws is under challenge. Mr. Kapil Sibal then submitted that all these laws have similar provisions.
During the hearing Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing as an intervenor, highlighted that "distasteful and shocking" statements have been made by the petitioner "casting aspersions on" Christians and Muslims. Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, who was also appearing for Upadhyay, replied that he had assured on the last occasion that such statements would not be pressed. "Mr. Datar, please make a formal application and delete those paragraphs", CJI said.
The batch of petitions will be listed after two weeks. Senior Advocates CU Singh, Sanjay Hegde, Indira Jaising, Vrinda Grover, etc., appeared for various petitioners.