UP withdraws transfer petition on unlawful conversion ordinance from Supreme Court

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday withdrew its transfer petition on the controversial law prohibiting conversion from one religion to another by marrying the Supreme Court. The state government had filed the petition from the Allahabad High Court to the top court for transferring those who illegally prohibited conversion of the Religion Ordinance, 2020.

The state wanted these petitions to be heard along with two petitions pending in the SC, on which notice has already been issued. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said, “By issuing the notice, we have not said that no HC can hear the case. These days people are taking the High Courts lightly.”

Senior advocate PS Narasimha, appearing for the state government, told the apex court that the petitions in SC are coming on February 2, while the High Court will appear on February 6. “The bench said that before this, there will be no hearing on February 2. We have issued notice not to trigger this transfer petition.

As the bench was not inclined, UP sought permission to withdraw its petition. The Uttar Pradesh Ordinance, titled “Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Illegal Conversion, Illegal Prohibition of 2020”, promulgated on November 24, outlines religious conversions by marriage, coercion, deceit or seduction.

The law prescribes a jail term of between one and five years, in addition to fines of up to ₹ 15,000 for those convicted under it. The jail term is a punishment of up to 10 years for the conversion of women belonging to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe communities or minors and a fine of up to 25,000.

The law was enacted almost a month after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath vowed to end the term “love jihad” used by right-wing activists to describe marital relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women.