Section 3 and 5 of U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 Not unconstitutional: Allahabad High Court

Section 3 and 5 of U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 Not unconstitutional: Allahabad High Court

Section 3 and 5 of U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 Not unconstitutional: Allahabad High Court

Recently, Hon’ble Division Bench of Allahabad High Court refused to grant interim order/stay in an alleged offence under U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 and also held that provisions which were challenged as to be unconstitutional are prima facie do not appear to be glaringly unconstitutional or ex facie unconstitutional.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE

The writ petition was filed with the prayer to Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction declaring Section3, 5 & 12 of the U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 as ultra vires to the Constitution of India and to issue a writ of certiorari quashing the impugned First Information Report dated 20.01.2023 bearing Case Crime No. 0047 of 2023 lodged at Police Station Kotwali, District Fatehpur under Sections 120B of I.P.C. and Section 3/5(1) of U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 as ultra vires to the Constitution of India.

CONTENTION OF THE PARTIES

It is contended that though the main offence against the petitioners is violation of the provisions of the U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 (hereinafter referred to a the Act), no offence is disclosed because the provisions of law contained in Section 8 and 9 of the Act, which are mandatory have not been complied with. Section 8(7) provides that any conversion without compliance of the mandatory provisions contained in sub-sections 1 to 4 of Section 9 shall render any conversion, void. Therefore no religious conversion actually took place.

The second contention is regarding challenge to the vires of Section 3, 5 and 12 of the said Act.

On the question of grant of stay, two authorities have been relied upon by learned counsel for the petitioner, they are:- 1. Health For Millions Trust vs Union Of India (2014 14 SCC 496) and 2. Bhavesh D. Parish & Others vs Union Of India And Another, 2005 SCC 471.

HON’BLE COURT’S OBSERVATIONS

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Gajendra Kumar directed the state respondents to file counter affidavit against the applicant claim of unconstitutionality of Provision of the aforesaid Act.

On the point of grant of interim stay in the light of aforesaid judgments relied by the counsel for the petitioner, it was observed that “The judgments cited hold that unless a provision of law whose vires is impugned, is ex facie unconstitutional or manifestly unjust or glaringly unconstitutional, no interim order should be granted during the pendency of the petition.”

Further it was observed that “Upon a perusal of the FIR, we find therein, direct allegations of allurement having been offered by the petitioners to the first informant and, therefore, in our considered opinion, the allegation, prima facie, constitute an offence under Section 3 of the Act. Therefore, the impugned first information report cannot be quashed, till such time, the primary relief prayed for in the writ petition, namely striking down of Section 3 as unconstitutional, is granted.

We are see no justification for granting any interim order to the petitioners as the provisions of Section 3 & 5 prima facie do not appear to be glaringly unconstitutional or ex facie unconstitutional.”

 

Case Title:-  Dr. RB Lal & ors Vs. State of U.P.

Case no. :-   CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. – 1634 of 2023

Order date :- 02.06.2023

READ: U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021

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