December 8, 2022

Indian Supreme Court on forced religious conversion

by Interfaith

Taking a serious note of such proselytization through deception, allurement, and intimidation, the Court opined that if such religious conversions are not stopped, they may pose a danger to the national security and the fundamental right of the citizens to freedom of religion and conscience.

The Bench instructed the Union government to make its stand clear and file a counter on what steps can be taken by Union and/or others to curb such forced conversion by force, allurement, or fraudulent means. The Court observed in this connection that there may be freedom of religion, but there cannot be freedom of religion by forced conversion.

One of India’s essential rights is the right to practice one’s religion freely. India is a secular nation and each Indian Citizen is thus free to practice and spread his faith peacefully. This indicates that changing one’s religion due to personal conviction, marriage, or divorce is acceptable in India so long as the decision is made voluntarily and without the use of pressure or force.

It is also worthwhile to note here that, in a case, Rev Stanislaus vs Madhya Pradesh, 1977 SCR (2) 611, the Supreme Court of India had considered the issue whether the fundamental right to practice and propagate religion includes the right to convert.

The Apex Court had then held that the right to propagate does not include the right to convert, and therefore had upheld the constitutional validity of the laws enacted by Madhya Pradesh and Odisha legislatures prohibiting conversion by force, fraud, or allurement.

Supreme Court on forced religious conversion

Taking cognizance of increasing instances of Forced Religious Conversion in the country as pointed out by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the Supreme Court on Monday, November 14, 2022 urged the government to act to check it….

(Aupmanyav 6/12/2022)

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