A Madhya Pradesh High Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla, issued a notice to the State Government in connection with a plea challenging the vires of the recently promulgated Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, prohibiting religious conversion by misrepresentation, undue influence, marriage, etc. The notice is returnable in eight weeks.
The petition was filed by a law student, Amratansh Nema who stated that the provisions contained in the Ordinance are motivated by religious intolerance, are a grave violation of constitutional provisions, and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals of the state.
Advocate General Purushaindra Kaurav accepted the notice on behalf of all the respondents and prayed for time to seek instructions and file a counter-affidavit. Thereafter, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing after nearly eight weeks.
The Ordinance which was promulgated by the Governor of the State on January 9 prohibits religious conversion by force, allurement, undue influence and even by marriage. The petition points out that the Ordinance was promulgated in utter haste without any proper consultation defying due process of law. This, the petition stated, was a reflection of abuse of legislative powers.
A petition challenging the validity of similar anti-conversion laws passed by Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace is pending before the Supreme Court.
The order may be read here: