Persons above 18 years are free to choose religion: Supreme Court
While hearing a petition seeking directions to the centre/ states to control religious conversion, the Supreme Court asserted that there is no reason why a person above 18 can't be allowed to choose their religion.
The Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2-21 that people above the age of 18 years are free to choose their religion. The ruling was delivered by an SC bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy.
The bench gave the direction while refusing to entertain a plea seeking directions to the Centre and states to control black magic and religious conversion.
The bench came down heaving on the counsel of petitioner, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana, demanding, "What kind of writ petition is this under Article 32. We will impose a heavy cost on you. You argue on your own risk."
SC ruling on Religion: Key Highlights
•The Supreme Court bench asserted that there is no reason why a person above 18 can't be allowed to choose their religion.
•The bench further stated that there is a reason why the word propagate is there in the Constitution.
•Justice RF Nariman observed that the petition was nothing but a "publicity interest litigation" of a "harmful kind".
•The bench warned the petitioner that heavy costs will be imposed if the matter was pressed.
•Following this, the petitioner's counsel Sankaranarayanan sought liberty to withdraw the petition and permission to make representation to the government and the law commission.
•The SC bench, however, refused to grant permission to a representation to the law commission and dismissed the petition as withdrawn.
The petition was filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. Besides seeking direction to the Centre and states to control black magic and religious conversion, the plea also sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of appointing a committee to enact a Conversion of Religion Act to check the "abuse of religion."
The petitioner had stated that the Centre and States have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, though it is their duty under Article 51A.
The plea also alleged that the government has failed to take any concrete action against them. It suggested that the Centre may enact a law with a minimum imprisonment of 3 years that may extend up to 10 years and a hefty fine may be imposed for such acts.