PIL against conversion based on social media info, won’t examine: Delhi High Court

The petition was filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who was later asked by the court to bring on record substantial data.

Published: 04th June 2022 08:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2022 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi High Court (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Delhi High Court (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to examine a public interest litigation (PIL) which alleged forced religious conversion, stating that the plea is based on information sourced from social media platforms and WhatsApp. 

The petition was filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who was later asked by the court to bring on record substantial data. The court posted the case for hearing on July 25. A division bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Tushar Rao Gedela observed that converting to a religion is a constitutional right and not prohibited by law. It is an individual’s prerogative to choose his/ her religion and hence, to 
examine a plea alleging religious conversion by force, there should be sufficient material to substantiate 
such claims. 

“Social media is not data. Things can be morphed there. Conversion is not prohibited. It is a right of person to profess any religion or chose any religion. That is the constitutional right. Each religion has beliefs. If someone is forced to convert, that is different but conversion is a person’s prerogative,” the court said. “Where are the instances (of conversion)? Either you amend your petition. We will have it after vacations. You have given nothing. Where are the statistics,” the court asked while adjourning the matter. 

When the petitioner requested the bench to direct the Central government to file a reply, the bench remarked. “What you can’t get directly can’t be given indirectly. This requires deeper consideration. Newspaper, WhatsApp, social media may or may not contain facts but they can’t be basis for petition,” the bench said.

Upadhyay argued “forceful conversions through intimidation, threats, deception or by use of black magic and superstition not only offend the provisions of the Constitution but even goes against the idea of secularism. 


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