Persons over 18 years of age are free to choose their religion: SC

The Supreme Court said while hearing a plea, that anybody over the age of 18 is free to practice whatever religion they choose, refusing to hear a public interest lawsuit seeking to prohibit black magic, superstition, and deceptive religious conversion.

The petition was in the form of public interest litigation. According to a bench led by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, there was “no excuse why an individual over the age of 18 cannot choose his or her religion.”

“The word propagate is there in the Indian Constitution for a reason,” said Justice Nariman, referring to Article 25.

The applicant in the case, BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, then decided to withdraw the complaint.

He will now contact the Ministry of Justice and the Law Commission to get legislation enacted to address his grievances.

In his petition, Upadhyay also requested that the court determine the feasibility of forming a committee to formulate a Conversion of Religion Act to combat religious violence.

He argued that religious conversion by “carrot and the stick” and “hook or crook” violates not only Articles 14, 21, and 25, as well as the ideals of secular values, which are an integrated component of the Constitution’s basic framework.

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