PIL in SC seeks law against black magic, forced religious conversions

New Delhi, Apr 1 (FN Agency) A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central and the State Governments to control black magic, superstition, and forceful religious conversions. The petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay contended that the religious conversion by intimidating, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits not only offends Articles 14, 21, 25 but is also against the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Mr Upadhyay also alleged that the Centre and States have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition, and deceitful religious conversion, though it’s their duty under Article 51A. Seeking a law on the subject matter with a minimum imprisonment of 3 years that may extend up to 10 years and a hefty fine, the petitioner also urged the Centre to empower the National Human Rights Commission to deal with the affairs of religious groups and keep a check by carrying out an in-depth analysis of religious discrimination among them.

The petitioner claimed that the situation is alarming as many individuals and organisations are carrying mass conversions of SC-STs in rural areas. “The mass religious conversion of socially and economically underprivileged people, particularly the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes community is on a steep rise for the last two decades”, the plea contended. These organizations operate very smoothly targeting the socially and economically underprivileged sections particularly belonging to the SC-ST community, the petitioner stated.