In process to bring law to deal with conversion, Rajasthan govt tells SC

Read Time: 05 minutes


The Rajasthan government has clarified its legal position with regard to conversion in the State in a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay

The Rajasthan government has stated before the Supreme Court that it is in the process of enacting its own legislation to deal with fraudulent and illegal conversion.

In an affidavit, the state government has stated it does not have any specific law with respect to conversion from one religion to another. However, it has clarified of strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the top court, and High Courts in different cases and the Centre in this respect.

Rajasthan has submitted all this in an affidavit in a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

In its short affidavit, the state government said, "State of Rajasthan is filing the present affidavit to apprise this court that it does not have any specific legislation with respect to conversion from one religion to another. Although the state government is strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by this Court, High Court of Rajasthan laid down in different cases and the Centre."

The state also said the State of Rajasthan is in the process of bringing its own legislation and till such time will strictly abide by the law on the subject, guidelines or directions passed by this court.

In 2022, Upadhyay filed the PIL referring to alleged suicide by a 17-year-old girl, Lavanya on January 19, 2022 in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu allegedly due to attempt to convert her.

The petitioner claimed the Centre and States have failed to control menace of deceitful religious conversion, though it is their duty under Articles 14, 21, 25 of the Constitution.

He claimed since the penal law does not cover religious conversion, many states have become the safe place for foreign funded individuals, NGOs and missionaries for illegal conversion.

The apex court had on September 23, 2022 termed the situation as "serious" and issued notice to the Centre and others seeking their response to the plea for a direction to control fraudulent religious conversion and those carried out by intimidation, threat, deceit, and through gifts and monetary benefits.

The petitioner had claimed the situation is alarming as many individuals and organisations are carrying mass conversions of SC-STs in rural areas for the last two decades. 

The plea said that religious conversion by “hook and crook” and by “the carrot and the stick” is not the problem of Delhi only but a pan India problem. Therefore, it is the duty of the Centre to take steps to prohibit it nationwide.

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Ors