No rigid standard for acceptance or rejection of dying declaration: Supreme Court

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Observing that a person above the age of 18 years is free to choose a religion of his or her choice, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to ban black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion.

“What kind of writ petition is this under Article 32. We will impose a heavy cost on you. You argue on your own risk,” a bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman told advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana, appearing for BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay. 

The bench said there is no reason why a person above 18 can’t be allowed to choose his religion. It further told Sankaranarayana that “there is a reason why the word propagates is there in the Constitution”.

The bench observed that the PIL was like a “publicity interest litigation” and that there was no reason why a person above 18 can’t choose his or her religion.

Upadhyay had also sought directions to ascertain the feasibility of appointing a panel to enact a Conversion of Religion Act to check the abuse of religion.

“Religious conversion by ‘carrot and stick’ and by ‘hook or crook’ not only offends Articles 14, 21, 25 but is also against the principles of secularism, which is an integral part of the Constitution,” the plea stated.

“The Centre and states have failed to control the menace of black magic, superstition and deceitful religious conversion, though it’s their duty under Article 51A,” it said. 

Fishermen kin to get govt compensation

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to deposit the compensation amount in the registry and it will distribute the amount to the families to close the 2012 case against Italian Marines who had shot dead two Indian fishermen.

The bench observed that the case against Italian marines will be closed after the compensation is deposited.