New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the validity of legislations, ‘The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Ordinance, 2020’ and the ‘Uttarakhand Freedom Of Religion Act, 2018’, and issued notice to the two state governments.
The petitioners also sought a stay on these ‘love jihad’ laws, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde replied that it would have been ideal if the petitioners had moved the respective High Courts instead of coming to the apex court.
Senior advocate C.U. Singh, representing one of the petitioners, submitted that it is obnoxious to put burden of proof on the married couple to establish that the motivation for the marriage is not conversion. Singh cited that several incidents have come on record where mobs have disrupted inter-faith marriages and also cited the severe punishment under these laws.
Another counsel for a petitioner cited that similar legislation is on the way in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said it would hear arguments of the petitioners against the law and then decided to issue notice rather than staying the laws on Wednesday.
The top court will hear the matter after four weeks.
One of the pleas moved by two advocates – Vishal Thakre and Abhay Singh Yadav – and a law researcher Pranvesh, states that the ordinance disturbs the basic structure of the Constitution. “The most important issue was whether the Parliament has the power to amend the fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution”, said the plea.
The petitioners contended that Parliament has no power to amend the fundamental rights, and if this ordinance is implemented it will harm the public at large and will create a chaotic situation in the society.
The plea said: “it is also pertinent to mention herein that the ordinance is passed by the State Government/s of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is against the provisions Special Marriage Act, 1954 and it will create fear in the society who is/are not part of Love Jihad they can be falsely implicated in the ordinance.”
The petitioners contended they are aggrieved by the ordinance passed by the state government and prayed before the top court that the law passed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand should be declared ultra-vires and null and void, as it disturbs the basic structure of the Constitution and also its against public policy and society at large.
“This ordinance can become a potent tool in the hands of bad elements of the society to use this ordinance to falsely implicate anyone in this ordinance and there are probabilities of falsely implicating persons who are not involved in any such acts and it will be a grave injustice if this ordinance is passed,” said the plea.
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