3 Feb 2021 7:56 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the withdrawal of a writ petition challenging the controversial Uttar Pradesh Ordinance on Unlawful Religious Conversions - commonly known as the 'love jihad' ordinance - with liberty to approach the High Court.A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde observed that the Supreme Court was not inclined to deal with the matter when the High Court...
The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the withdrawal of a writ petition challenging the controversial Uttar Pradesh Ordinance on Unlawful Religious Conversions - commonly known as the 'love jihad' ordinance - with liberty to approach the High Court.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde observed that the Supreme Court was not inclined to deal with the matter when the High Court is already considering it.
"The High Court is already seized of the matter. We would like to have the benefit of the High Court's view on this as well", the CJI told the counsel for the petitioners.
However, the counsel persuaded the bench to admit the petitions by submitting that the issue was important and that similar laws have been made in other states such as Madhya Pradesh. The counsel submitted that innocent persons were being arrested using the provisions of the law.
In response, the CJI said "We are not denying the importance of the matter. We are on the question of jurisdiction".
The CJI also told the counsel that the apex court had dismissed last week a petition filed by the UP Government seeking transfer of the petitions pending in the High Court to the Supreme Court.
Following the brief exchange, the bench allowed the withdrawal of the petitions, granting liberty to them to approach the High Court.
The bench was considering the petition filed by People's Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL).
On January 24, the CJI-led bench had dismissed the transfer petition filed by the UP Government observing : "If the Allahabad High Court is seized of it, and we are not going to hear before it, why should we stop the HC?We would like to have the judgment of the High Court also".
The transfer petition was filed after the Allahabad High Court refused to adjourn the hearing on the ground that SC has issued notice on two similar petitions. Turning down the State Government's request for adjournment, the High Court said that pendency of similar petitions in SC will not preclude the HC from hearing the matter.
The Allahabad High Court is scheduled to hear the petitions challenging the controversial ordinance on February 24.
The petitions challenge the constitutional validity of the recently passed UP Ordinance as violating Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution by empowering the State to suppress an individual's personal liberty and impinge upon an individual's right to freedom of choice and right to freedom of religion.
The UP Ordinance, promulgated in November, specifically criminalizes conversion by marriage.
Section 3 of the Ordinance prohibits one person from converting the religion of another person by marriage. In another words, religious conversion by marriage is made unlawful. Violation of this provision is punishable with imprisonment for a term which is not less than one year but which may extend up to 5 years and a fine of minimum rupees fifteen thousand. If the person converted happens to be a woman, the punishment is double the normal term and fine.