Constitutionality of Anti Conversion Laws
Citizens for Justice and Peace v State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors
The Court will decide if the anti-conversion laws passed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are constitutionally valid.
Petitioner: Citizens for Justice and Peace; Tanima Kumar
Lawyers: Tanima Kishore
Respondent: State of Uttar Pradesh; State of Uttarakhand
Lawyers: Vanshaja Shukla
In 2019 the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission submitted a report arguing for an anti-conversion law. A draft Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019 was appended to the report.
On November 27th 2020 the Uttar Pradesh Governor promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 (‘Ordinance’). The Ordinance criminalises religious conversion for marriage. Moreover, any person intending to convert has to file a declaration before the Government at least 60 days prior to such conversion. The Ordinance was immediately challenged before the Allahabad High Court. The petitioner Saurabh Kumar argued that it violated the fundamental right to liberty, personal autonomy and freedom.
While the challenge was still pending before the High Court, Citizens for Justice and Peace (‘CJP’), a Mumbai based NGO, took this to the Supreme Court. CJP, through a writ petition, not only challenged the Ordinance but an analogous Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 (‘Act’). Both the laws curtailed the right to freedom of choice, right to life and liberty, right to freedom of religion, and right to privacy.
In the admission hearing, the three-judge bench led by CJI Bobde issued notice to the state governments. However, the Court did not grant interim stay on the laws.