"I don't see a reason as to why any person above 18 cannot choose his religion. There is a reason why the word "propagate" is there in the Constitution", observed Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Faliman Nariman on Friday.
The oral observation was made when a bench headed by him was hearing a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyaya seeking to control black magic, superstition & mass religious conversion of SC/STs through intimidation, threats & gifts.
Observing that the PIL was nothing but a "publicity interest litigation", which was of a "harmful kind", the bench warned the petitioner that heavy costs will be imposed if the matter was pressed.
Following that, the petitioner withdrew the petition.
The plea alleged that incidents of forceful religious conversion by "carrot and stick", use of black magic, etc., are reported every week throughout the country. According to the petitioner, the victims of such forceful conversions were often socially and economically under privileged people, particularly belonging to the SC-ST.
Therefore, it was contended that it not only offended Articles 14, 21, 25 of the Constitution, but was also against the principles of secularism, which is integral part of basic structure of Constitution. It was additionally alleged that the Government has failed to take any concrete action against these menaces of the society.