Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: “No legislation has imposed any restriction on conversion if it is done by one’s own free will,” said former Supreme Court judge K.T. Thomas, delivering the sixth Dr. Stanley Samartha Memorial Lecture, here on Thursday.

He said the word “convert” has been deliberately avoided as part of the fundamental right to religious freedom.

Speaking on the “Right to convert and the Indian Constitution,” Mr. Thomas said the right to “freedom of conscience” was a fundamental right that says everyone is entitled to “freely profess, practice and propagate” religion.

“We must remember that the word ‘propagate’ was added by the Constituent Assembly after much deliberation,” he said. “Some persons opposed it on the grounds that no secular Republic should allow it,” he said. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel strongly recommended its inclusion.

“But what is the extent of our right to propagate? Does it include the right to propagate that your religion is faulty and mine alone perfect?,” he said.