SYLLABUS SECTION: GS II (Polity and Governance)
WHY IN THE NEWS?
- Recent observations by the Delhi High Court that religious Remark On Conversion, unless force, not prohibited raise a question.
- Delhi High Court was hearing the petition, to frame the laws to prohibit Remark On Conversion by force or deception.
- It was alleged that mass conversions of underprivilege people, particularly the Schedule Castes and the Schedule Tribes are possible.
- It is a right of an individual to profess any religion, religion of his birth, or religion that he chooses to profess.
What does the Constitution say?
- Article 25(1) of the Constitution says that subject to public order, morality, and health, all persons are equally entitle to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
- Stanislaus versus State of Madhya Pradesh: It held that the word ‘propagate’ in Article 25 does not give “the right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
- But there is no one to spread one’s religion by an exposition of its tenets.
- There was no fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
- If a person purposely undertakes conversion of another, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that would impinge on the ‘freedom of conscience guarantee to all the citizens of the country alike.
- It was said that the 1977 judgment remains incomplete.
- Even though the right to propagate religion does not include the right to convert, one’s fundamental right under Article 25 to freely profess or practice religion will include the right to get convert.
Why Delhi High Court View Is Significant?
- The Stanislaus judgment only dealt with the right to propagate or convert, and not the right to get convert.
- The Delhi High Court’s view is more on the right to get convert. It is an area the Constitution Bench did not go deeper into in the Stanislaus case.
- It is observed that first and foremost conversion is not prohibit.
Source: The Hindu