NEW DELHI: Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay on Monday filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court, seeking its direction to Delhi and Central governments to prohibit forcible religious conversion.
The petition said that the religious conversion by intimidating, threatening, and deceiving people with gifts and monetary benefits, as well as by using black magic and superstition must be stopped.
Religious conversion by the approach of “hook and crook” and “carrot and stick” not only directly violates the right to life, liberty, dignity, and equality, but also the principles of secularism and rule of law, which are the basic structure of the Constitution, it submitted.
Women and children are the main targets of foreign-funded conversion mafias but the Centre and the Delhi government have not taken appropriate steps to control religious conversion, the petition argued.
Calling forced religious conversions “injustice and exploitation”, the PIL said the Constitution empowers the government to control conversion.
In his plea, Upadhyay, who is also a BJP leader, said foreign-funded NGOs smoothly target socially-economically underprivileged sections, particularly the SC-ST community, calling the situation “alarming”.
The petitioner sought the apex court’s direction to the Central government to enact anti-conversion law and amendments to Chapter XV of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with offenses relating to religion.
He also sought amendments to theRegulation) Act, 2010, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to check forced conversion. “There is massive foreign funding through FCRA and Money Laundering to convert followers of Indian religion,” it said.
Seeking the top court’s intervention, the petition said, “The court cannot be a mute spectator if followers of Indian religions are being converted to foreign religion by the use of force, allurement or fraudulent means.”