A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had said it will have to take a call on whether all the cases pending before several High Courts challenging the Acts should be transferred to the Supreme Court.
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging anti-conversion laws of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, saying they have been enacted to “harass” interfaith couples and implicate them in criminal cases.
The Muslim body, in its PIL filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, said the provisions of all the local laws of the five states force a person to disclose his/ her faith and consequently, invade the privacy of a person.
“The petitioners are filing the present writ petition…challenging the constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Act, 2021, the Uttarakhand Freedom Of Religion Act, 2018, the Himachal Pradesh Freedom Of Religion Act, 2019, the Madhya Pradesh Freedom Of Religion Act, 2021 and the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021,” the plea said.
“The compulsory disclosure of one’s religion in any form amounts to violation of the right to manifest his/her beliefs as the said right includes the right not to manifest one’s beliefs,” it said.
Further, the provisions of the five Acts entitle the family members of persons entering into interfaith marriage to lodge a first information report (FIR), virtually giving them a fresh tool for harassing a convert, the plea contended.
These laws are being misused by the disgruntled family members, it said.
“It is submitted that the phrase ‘undue influence’ is too wide and vague and the same can be used to prosecute any person who is in a stronger position vis-a-vis the converted person,” it said.