BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay has moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court, seeking directions to the Centre and Delhi government to prohibit religious conversion through intimidation, threats, deception, or “by using black magic and superstition”.
In the PIL, he contended that Article 14 ensures equality before law and secures equal protection of law. Presently, religious conversion by intimidating, threatening and deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits is an offence in UP’s Ghaziabad but not in adjoining east Delhi. Similarly, religious conversion by using black magic and superstition is an offence in Gurugram but not in adjoining west Delhi. It not only violates Articles 14 but is also contrary to principles of secularism and rule of law, which are basic structure of the Constitution, he claimed.
The plea alleged that women and children are the main target of “foreign funded conversion mafias” but the Centre and the Delhi governments have not taken appropriate steps to control the religious conversion by “the carrot and the stick” in spirit of Article 15(3), and called on the court to intervene.
Religious conversion by ‘the hook and crook’ directly offends the right to life liberty dignity, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, he argued, adding that tight to religion guaranteed under Article 25 is not an absolute right but subject to public order, health and morality and religious conversion by using miracles, superstition and black magic is not protected under it.
“Many foreign funded individuals and NGOs are converting EWS-BPL citizens to foreign religions by intimidating, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits,” he alleged.
Upadhyay prayed for directions to the Centre and the Delhi governments to take appropriate stringent steps to prohibit religious conversion by “the carrot and the stick” and “by hook or crook” in order to maintain and promote fraternity, assure dignity of individual, and unity and integrity of the nation.