Anti-conversion laws row: One plea on the transfer of cases, parties told
The Supreme Court on Monday asked parties challenging the anti-conversion law passed by several state governments to file a common petition seeking the transfer of cases from the high courts to it.
Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments have filed separate petitions challenging the interim orders of the respective high courts staying certain provisions of their law on conversion. The apex court has scheduled the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, noted that the matter is pending before various high courts, and asked senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the parties, to file a common transfer petition before it.
The bench, in its order, recorded that a transfer petition will be filed for tagging and transferring all cases before this court.
During the hearing, senior advocate Dushyant Dave pointed out that one of the petitions filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay casts aspersions on Muslims and Christians. As senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing Upadhyay, submitted that the alleged content would not be pressed, the bench asked him to file a formal plea for deletion of the “objectionable portions”.
Earlier, a bench headed by Justice M R Shah heard Upadhyay’s plea against alleged forceful religious conversions. It had orally observed that religious conversion was a serious issue that should not be given a political color and sought the assistance of the Attorney General in the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta challenged the locus of activist Teesta Setalvad‘s NGO ‘Citizens for Justice and Peace‘. Senior advocate C U Singh, counsel for the NGO, opposed Mehta’s submissions.
Attorney General R Venkataramani submitted that the high court should be permitted to hear the challenge to the local anti-conversion laws, the bench replied that it is not transferring the cases and that his submissions will be heard in this context. However, counsel, representing one of the petitioners, insisted that challenges to anti-conversion laws should be transferred to the apex court.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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