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[Forced Religious Conversions In Govt Schools] What Is The Harm In Framing Guidelines? Madras High Court Asks TN Govt

Upasana Sajeev
5 May 2022 11:04 AM GMT
[Forced Religious Conversions In Govt Schools] What Is The Harm In Framing Guidelines? Madras High Court Asks TN Govt
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The Madras High Court on Thursday asked the State Government what was the difficulty in framing guidelines against alleged forced religious conversions in government schools. It observed that though the Constitution gives a right to profess a religion of one's choice, it does not give any right to forcibly convert. The bench of Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice S. Ananthi was hearing...

The Madras High Court on Thursday asked the State Government what was the difficulty in framing guidelines against alleged forced religious conversions in government schools. It observed that though the Constitution gives a right to profess a religion of one's choice, it does not give any right to forcibly convert.

The bench of Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice S. Ananthi was hearing a petition filed by Advocate B Jagannath, seeking directions to the Educational Department to frame effective guidelines and take all necessary steps including corrective measures to prohibit/ prevent and ban proselytization and forced religious conversion in Government-run schools and educational institutions, both primary and Higher Secondary including aided schools coming under the direct control of the State Government, within a reasonable time frame.

The petitioner suggested setting up Internal Complaints Committee at District Level which can act as a fact-finding committee with an appellate remedy before the concerned District Collector.

He also stated that intervention of the Court was necessary to stop these rampant forced conversion rackets in Government schools in Tamil Nadu and to nip them in the bud. He further submitted that guidelines have to be framed within a suitable time frame to prevent another child from falling prey to these forced conversions.

He also claimed that Hindu girls were being targeted by Christian missionaries through State Government backing and open sponsoring. He also stated that these students were facing humiliation, discrimination, hatred, and bigotry coupled with intolerance of their religion and that the officials and politicians belonging to the ruling party had a careless attitude toward this group of students.

When the matter was being heard, Additional Advocate General Mr. J Ravindran questioned the basis on which the petition was filed and claimed that such petitions were filed without any grounds and are bereft of any materials.

He submitted that the Government had taken necessary action in the two instances in Kanyakumari and Tirupur cited by the petitioner in his petition and that there were no other instances of forced conversions in schools. He further added that the Government shall take stern action if such forced conversions are reported in its schools.

The court recorded the submissions of both sides and adjourned the matter to May 6th 2022 for further hearing.

Case Title: B. Jagannath v. The Chief Secretary and others

Case No: W.P 11086 of 2022

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