The Supreme Court on December 12 took serious note of a Christian organisation’s objections to “scurrilous, vexatious and scandalous” allegations made against minority religions by petitioner-advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in his case alleging“massive” forcible religious conversions.
Appearing before a Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, for the organisation referred to allegations made in the additional submissions filed by Mr. Upadhyay in the apex court on December 8.
“These allegations include that certain religions are perpetuating rapes and murders… These averments should not be even on the files of Your Lordships. It gives a wrong signal to the minority community that the Supreme Court is allowing this to go uncontested,” Mr. Dave submitted.
Justice Bhat intervened to address senior advocate Arvind Datar, who is appearing for Mr. Upadhyay, to go through his client’s written submissions and remove the offending allegations.
“Mr. Datar, please consider what these allegations are and moderate them… You should not have all this on record,” Justice Bhat told Mr. Datar.
“You should personally look into this,” Justice Shah told the senior lawyer.
“If it is scurrilous, it will be removed,” Mr. Datar assured.
The 28-page written submissions filed by Mr. Upadhyay includes statements like “history is evident that forceful and fraudulent conversions are a global phenomenon in human history. In their zeal of converting people to their own religion both Muslims and Christians killed billions of people, raped millions of women and destroyed millions of temples and other worship centres. They have completely destroyed many ancient cultures like Maya, Mesopotamia, Roman, Egypt, etc”.
On Monday, Mr. Dave urged the court to allow organisations and individuals representing minority communities to implead themselves in the case and contest Mr. Upadhyay’s petition claiming large-scale religious conversions across the country.
Justice Shah reacted that the court would consider their applications for impleadment in the next hearing on January 9. It said it wanted to first know if the Centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was not present in the hearing, would be filing an affidavit in the case.
“The Solicitor is not here today. Meanwhile, what is the harm in allowing us to get impleaded? Give us an opportunity to oppose this petition which cannot be allowed to go uncontested,” Mr. Dave submitted to the Bench.
In the previous hearing on December 5, the court had orally observed that conversion should not be the hidden intention behind charity and good work.
“Everybody has a right to choose their faith but that does not mean luring somebody by giving something. If you believe that a particular community needs help, you help it. It is a charity. But the purpose of charity should not be conversion. Every charity or good work is welcome, but what requires to be considered is the intention,” Justice Shah had said on December 5.