The Centre on Monday submitted an affidavit in Supreme court and said that strict steps will be taken against forced conversions. On the notice of the apex court, the Center categorically said that no one has the right to convert another’s religion. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Center said that forced conversion is a serious matter, which cannot be taken lightly.
The Center has told the Supreme Court that Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana have already made laws against forced conversions. Citing an old decision of the Supreme Court, the Center has said that it is a fundamental right to propagate religion, but it is not a right to change someone’s religion.
The affidavit also stated that’The right to freedom of religion does not include the right to convert an individual through fraud, deception, coercion, allurement or other such means,”
It further added that the meaning and purport of the word ‘propagate’ falling under Article 25 of the Constitution was discussed and debated in great detail in the constituent assembly and the inclusion of the said word was passed by the constituent assembly only after the clarification that the fundamental right under Article 25 would not include the right to convert.
The Centre’s response came on a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyaya against fraudulent religious conversion by intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits, as it offends Articles 14, 21, and 25.
The plea claimed that if such conversions were not checked, Hindus would soon become a minority in India.