SC slammed Tamil Nadu government for politicising fraudulent religious conversions

Debjit Mukherjee: Describing fraudulent religious conversions as a serious and important issue, the Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Tamil Nadu Government for politicising it and asked it to restrict itself to the point under consideration. “You may have different reasons to be agitated like this. Don’t convert court proceedings into other things. We are not concerned with ‘A’ state or ‘B’ state. We are concerned for the entire nation. Do not see it as targeting one State. Do not make it political,” a Bench led by Justice MR Shah told senior counsel P Wilson after he said the PIL filed by a BJP leader was politically motivated. Wilson, who represented the Government of Tamil Nadu, said petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay — who has filed a fresh petition seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the death of a student in Thanjavur — was facing sedition charges.“It makes no difference…Restrict (yourself) to point under consideration. Don’t bring anything else,” the Bench – which also included Justice CT Ravikumar — told Wilson. The top court sought the assistance of Attorney General R Venkataramani on the PIL seeking directions to the Centre and states to take stringent measures to check fraudulent religious conversion by threat and inducement and posted the matter for further hearing on February 7. It also refused to expunge certain comments made against some minority religious groups in the petition even as senior counsel Arvind Datar, representing the petitioner, said he won’t pursue those points.The Bench had on November 14 described forced religious conversion as a “very serious” matter affecting the security of the nation. Noting that the purpose of charity should not be conversion, the Supreme Court had on December 5 said forced religious conversion was a “serious issue” as it went against the Constitution.