Religious conversions should not be given political colour, says Supreme Court
The counsel for the Tamil Nadu government argued that the petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay was politically motivated.
Religious conversions are a serious subject that should not be given a political colour, the Supreme Court observed on Monday, according to PTI.
A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar also sought the assistance of Attorney General R Venkataramani in a public interest litigation filed by lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking an end to fraudulent and forced conversions.
During the hearing, senior advocate P Wilson, representing the Tamil Nadu government, argued that the petition was politically motivated. He said that there was no question of such conversions in the state, PTI reported.
Wilson said that the matter should be decided by the legislature, adding that the petitioner has political affiliations and is facing sedition charges. However, the court objected to Wilson’s remarks.
“Don’t convert court proceedings into other things,” the court said. “... We are concerned for the entire state. If it is happening in your state, it is bad. If not, good. Do not see it as targeting one state. Don’t bring politics into it and give it a political colour.”
Meanwhile, the bench said that it will not expunge comments made about some minority religions in the petition for now, according to Bar and Bench.
On December 12, the court had asked Upadhyay to remove the remarks from the petition. This was after senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for some Christian organisations seeking to intervene in the matter, told the court that the BJP leader’s petition includes some distasteful allegations against other religions.
On Monday, Upadhyay’s counsel told the court that the petitioner would not pursue those submissions.
In his plea, Upadhyay has claimed that the Hindu population in India had declined from 86% in 2001 to 79% in 2011. The petition said that if religious conversions were to continue at this rate, “Hindus shall gradually become a minority” in India.
However, census data shows that the proportion of Hindus dropped only marginally from 80.5% of the population in 2001 to 79.8% in 2011.
Further, data from the National Family Health Survey released in May showed that the fertility rate among Muslims has reported the sharpest decline among all religious communities over the past two decades.