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Opinion

PIL Challenges UP’s South Carolina ‘Love Jihad’ Law, Says Misuse Likely

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Two attorneys and a legal investigator filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging an ordinance promulgated by the Uttar Pradesh government prohibiting religious conversions through marriage, arguing that the law could be misused to falsely implicate couples of different faiths who are they marry outside the law. your free will.

The petition, filed on November 30, also challenged the validity of a 2018 Uttarakhand law that prohibits conversion of religion through marriage.

Qualifying the UP ordinance, enacted last month and signed by Governor Anandiben Patel, and Uttarakhand law as being against public policy and society in general, the petition demanded that they be dismissed by the high court for violating the fundamental rights of citizens who decide to marry people who belong to other religions.

The Uttar Pradesh ordinance prohibits religious conversions by marriage, coercion, deception or seduction. The law was enacted about a month after Uttar Pradesh Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath promised to end “love jihad,” a term used by right-wing activists to describe the marital relations between Muslim men and Hindu women, but that it has been rejected by courts and experts. . “This ordinance can become a powerful tool in the hands of the evil elements of society to … falsely implicate anyone … there is a chance of falsely implicating people who are not involved in such acts and it would be a grave injustice if this Ordinance is approved, ”the petition said.

On November 24, the 2020 Uttar Pradesh Ordinance Banning Illegal Conversion of Religion was enacted. ” The law prescribes a jail term ranging from one to five years, in addition to fines of up to 15,000 rupees for those convicted by law. The jail term is up to 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 25,000 for conversions of women who belong to registered caste or tribal communities or who are minors.

Criticizing this law, former Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur in a recent online conference on November 29 said: “Giving a back seat to freedom of choice, dignity and human rights, a strict ordinance was recently passed in Uttar. related to marriage and forced conversion. Pradesh “.

He cited the SC’s 2018 verdict upholding the freedom of choice of an adult woman to marry a person of her choice in the 2018 Shafin Jahan v Ashokan KM case, popularly known as the Hadiya case.

The people behind the petition are advocates Vishal Thakre and Abhay Singh Yadav and law investigator Pranvesh, who lives in Allahabad. This is the first petition to challenge a law on this issue. “The ordinance passed by the state of Uttar Pradesh and the law passed by Uttarakhandareagainst public policy and society in general and violates the basic structure of the Constitution, ”says the petition.

The BJP-governed states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Assam are contemplating similar laws.

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