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Persons above 18 years free to choose their religion: SC on religious conversion

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NEW DELHI: Observing that a person above the age of 18 years is free to choose a religion of his or her choice, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to ban black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion.

The bench said there is no reason why a person above 18 can’t be allowed to choose his religion. It further told Sankaranarayana that “there is a reason why the word propagates is there in the Constitution”.

The bench observed that the PIL was like a “publicity interest litigation” and that there was no reason why a person above 18 can’t choose his or her religion.

Upadhyay had also sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of appointing a panel to enact a Conversion of Religion Act to check the abuse of religion.

“Religious conversion by ‘carrot and stick’ and by ‘hook or crook’ not only offends Articles 14, 21, 25 but is also against the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the Constitution,” the plea stated.

“The Centre and states have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, though it’s their duty under Article 51A,” it said.