Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea on forcible religious conversion

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea against an order passed by the Madras High Court on a petition which had raised the issue of alleged forcible conversion from Hinduism to other religions, saying it is more of “publicity interest” and that such pleas disturb harmony.

“You are actually disturbing the harmony with these kinds of petitions,” a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and A S Bopanna observed.
The bench said the petition is “more of publicity interest rather than public interest” and must be dismissed with cost.

When the apex court said it was inclined to dismiss the plea with cost, advocate C R Jaya Sukin, appearing for the petitioner, sought permission to withdraw it.

“The Special Leave Petition (SLP) is dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench ruled.
The petitioner had challenged an order of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court passed in March last year on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the Centre and others, including the state of Tamil Nadu, to establish a board for surveillance and monitoring the activities of the Christian missionaries.

In its order, the high court had noted that the special government pleader had produced a copy of the The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Act, 2002, which provides for prohibition of conversion from one religion to another by the use of force or allurement by fraudulent means and for matters incidental thereto.

“We can only hope and trust that the official respondents would give effect to the provision of the Act in letter and spirit. For the aforesaid purpose, the official respondents may make adequate Rules, as indicated in section 7 of the Act 56/2002,” the high court had said in its order.

“We expect the district magistrate to act in accordance with the said Act as and when compliance are received. The writ petition stands disposed of accordingly,” it had said.

In the special leave petition (SLP) filed in the apex court against the high court order, the petitioner said for the last few years, it has come to their knowledge that some anti-social elements and anti-nationals are forcibly converting people from Hinduism to other religions, especially Christianity.

“Petitioner submits that to strengthen India’s unity and sovereignty and stability, all the Christian missionaries should be checked and their income should be monitored and their activities should be strictly brought under the surveillance of state and central government,” it said.

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