The Allahabad High Court has issued notice on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.
A bench led by acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari on Monday tagged the plea with other pending petitions and listed it after three weeks.
Two public interest litigations were already filed against the conversion law. All the petitions, including the new one, are now expected to be heard in the next hearing.
The plea was moved by one, Anand Malviya (petitioner) through advocate Shadan Farasat and Talha Abdul Rahman.
Malviya, a retired government servant who had served as the senior statistical officer at the National Sample Survey office of Government of India, contended that the law is against the secular character of the Constitution and infringes upon freedom of choice and freedom of religion.
He submitted that the law, essentially, seeks to negate the present constitutional position, and coerce individuals belonging to different faiths to seek 'permission' from the State before marrying and, as a logical extension, having children together.
The Act is a thinly disguised attempt at fanning the flames of communalism, and seeks to divide society on ethnic and religious lines, the plea said.
The petitioner also highlighted how a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted in Kanpur, after cases of inter-religious marriages had surfaced but found no large-scale conspiracy.
"The SIT did not find any large-scale conspiracy of 'love jihad'. Ironically, the footnote text in the enactment as gazetted refers to the impugned ordinance as 'Love Jihad'. It is a matter of record that the SIT probe did not find any solid proof that the accused worked in an organised manner as part of a conspiracy," the petition stated.
The matter will be heard again on October 5 along with other connected petitions.