While hearing a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyaya, seeking to control black magic, superstition & mass religious conversion of SC/STs through intimidation, threats and gifts, Justice RF Nariman of the Supreme Court orally observed that “I don’t see a reason as to why any person above 18 cannot choose his religion. There is a reason why the word ‘propogate’ is there in the Constitution.” The Plea alleged that incidents of forceful religious conversion by “carrot and stick”, use of black magic, etc. are reported every week throughout the country. According to the Petitioner, the victims of such forceful conversions were often socially and economically under privileged people, particularly belonging to the SC/ST. The Bench headed by Justice RF Nariman further observed that the PIL was nothing but “publicity interest litigation”, which was of a “harmful kind” and that heavy cost will be imposed by the Petitioner if the matter was pressed. Following that, the Petitioner withdrew the petition.
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