The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance to withdraw their cases as infructuous because the Ordinance has been replaced by an Act. A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Siddhartha Varma refused to hear amendment applications and directed the Petitioners to re-file.
One of the Petitioners’ counsel, Advocate Devesh Saxena, argued that there has been no material change in their pleadings and that only the word ‘Ordinance’ has been replaced with the word ‘Act. “We will waste a lot of time if we file anew because arguments have already been made,” Saxena argued.
The Bench, however, indicated a preference for dismissing the petitions. “According to your affidavit, you filed a “exhaustive and elaborate” petition. This will not be tolerated by us. We will dismiss you if you don’t withdraw “Saxena was told this by CJ Yadav. “It’s complicated because the word “Ordinance” appears so frequently. However, no substantive change has occurred “Saxena insisted before finally withdrawing the petition with the option of contesting the new Act.
All other petitions challenging the Ordinance have also been dismissed as withdrawn, leaving the petitioner free to file a new petition challenging the Act. Petitioners who filed their petitions after the Act’s notification were given time to file counter-affidavits and rejoinders. The Court has given notice on a PIL filed by the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives through Advocate Vrinda Grover, which challenges the Act of 2021. It has ordered that all pleadings in the case be completed before the next hearing date.
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