The Court will decide if the anti-conversion laws passed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are constitutionally valid.
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 27 November 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.
1. Whether the anti-conversion laws specifically target the Muslim community and violate Article 14 and 15?
2. Whether the anti-conversion laws violate the right to life and personal liberty and right to life under Article 21?
3. Whether the anti-conversion laws violate the right to freedom of choice under Article 19?
4. Whether the anti-conversion laws infringe the right to freedom of religion under Article 25?