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Charity can’t be for conversion purpose, says SC


CHENNAI: Terming conversion to another religion through force and allurement as dangerous, the Supreme Court on Monday said that charity cannot be for the purpose of conversion.“Every charity, good work is welcome, but purpose of charity cannot be conversion. If you believe that particular persons are to be helped, help them. It cant be for conversion but what is required to be considered is intention,” a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar remarked.

Calling forced religious conversion a “serious issue” and against the basic structure of the Constitution, the bench also said, “When everyone stays in India they’re required to act as per culture & harmony of India. Propagate charity help everything is welcome but it shouldn’t be for converting a person.”

Rejecting objections regarding maintainability of plea filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking to undertake stringent steps for controlling fraudulent religious conversions, the bench asked the centre to file detailed affidavit after obtaining information from states on anti conversion laws and other relevant information.

Upadhyay’s plea had also sought to declare religious conversion by fraud, intimidation, threat and deceiving by luring gifts and monetary benefits as violative of fundamental rights.  Earlier during this week, Gujarat government had told the SC that state has passed Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 and Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 to prevent fraudulent conversion. Justifying the requirement to seek DM’s permission under section 5 of the 2003 Act, the state has stated that exercise of taking prior permission also obviates the forcible conversion and protects the “freedom of conscience” guaranteed to all the citizens of the Country.

“Right to freedom of religion does not include a fundamental right to convert other people to a particular religion. The said right certainly does not include the right to convert an individual through fraud, deception, coercion, allurement or other such means,” the affidavit stated.

53 Days ago