A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in Supreme Court today, challenging the new Law on Religious Conversions that were passed by the Governments of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Laws were passed by the State of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand allegedly to prevent the menace of Love Jihad.

Lawyers Vishal Thakre, Abhay Singh Yadav and Pranvesh, practicing in Delhi, filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, challenging the Constitutional validity of the recently promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.

The main prayers of the PIL are that these laws in the name of preventing Love Jihad be declared as null and void because the disturb and violate the basic structure of the Constitution.  PIL also says that the ordinance passed by the State of UP and UK is against the public policy and society at large. The plea says that the Constitution of India has conferred upon the citizens, certain basic and fundamental rights which also includes the rights of minorities and other backward communities.

The PIL states This ordinance can become a potent tool in the hands of bad elements of the society to falsely implicate anyone and there are probabilities of falsely implicating persons who are not involved in any such acts (contemplated under the ordinance) and it will result in grave injustice.”

The Petition was filed by Advocate Sanjeev Malhotra and states that the founding fathers of the Constitution intended it to be an adaptable document and not a rigid framework for Governance. The plea reads They wanted it to be a flexible document which can adjust or adapt itself according to the changing situations.”

The Petitioner further states that this ordinance will leave the common citizen exposed to misuse by certain elements of the society, who may use it to falsely implicate people. The plea says that the 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 implicate persons who are not involved in any such acts and it will be a grave injustice if this ordinance is passed”.

The petition also argued that implementation of these laws will therefore harm the public at large and will create a chaotic situation in the society.

Therefore, the plea seeks directions from the court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to declare the provisions of the ordinances to be Ultra Vires. The PIL has also sought issuance of directions to the Centre and States, directing them not to give effect to the impugned provisions and ordinances and withdraw the same or in the alternative, modify the said bills to make them intra vires of Constitution.

The Ordinance passed by UP Government which came into effect last week of November specifically criminalizes the act of conversion by marriage.

Several legal experts have spoken out against the ordinances, saying that the ordinances are bad in law, and that these ordinances infringe on rights of the citizens in matters or marriage and religion.