Two PILs have been filed in the Supreme Court of India against the recently introduced anti-love jihad law in Uttar Pradesh. The PILs are challenging the UP Government’s Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion ordinance, 2020.
One of the two petitions is filed by a group of lawyers and law students based in Delhi and Allahabad. While the other petition is filed by a lawyer who resides in Delhi. The Delhi-based lawyer has also challenged the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act 2018.
The PILs claim that the UP Government's Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion ordinance, 2020, and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act 2018 violate the fundamental right to privacy under Article 21 and freedom to practice religion under Article 25.
Furthermore, the petitions also claim that the anti-love jihad law passed by the Uttar Pradesh Government and the Uttarakhand law go against the provisions of the Special Marriage Act by restricting inter-religious marriages. The pleas also claim that these laws would ultimately end up ‘creating a fear’ in the society.
Additionally, the petition also argues that the law would ‘be a potent tool in the hands of bad elements of the society to use this ordinance to falsely implicate anyone.’ The petition also states the anti-love jihad law introduced in UP overturns a fundamental principle of criminal law as it depends on a person who chooses conversion to prove that it is not unlawful or fraudulent.
The anti-love jihad law was passed by the UP Government on 27th November. A case was registered in Bareilly the very next day under the same law.
Under the anti-love jihad law, marriage for the only purpose of converting a girl’s religion will be declared as null or void. The punishment will result in jail for up to ten years.
Forcible conversion of religion, those including through marriage, will be resulting in a punishment consisting of a jail term of about one to five years and a penalty of Rs 15,000. If the girl belongs to a minor caste or community or Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe then the offense will result in a jail term of up to three to ten years with a penalty of Rs 25,000.