PRELIMS SNIPPETS – November 17th 2022
Forced Religious Conversion.
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court has recently asked the Centre to step in and make very serious and sincere efforts to tackle the issue of Forced Religious Conversion.
- The petition sought a declaration that fraudulent religious conversion by “intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits” offends Articles 14, 21, 25 of the Constitution.
- The plea pointed out that In the 1977 ruling in the Rev Stainislaus versus State of Madhya Pradesh case, the Supreme Court had said: “It has to be remembered that Article 25(1) guarantees ‘freedom of conscience’ to every citizen, and not merely to the followers of one particular religion and that, in turn, postulates that there is no fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
- The SC, while hearing the petition sought directions to the Centre and states to take stringent steps to check such conversions.
- The court has said that forced conversion is very dangerous and may affect security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience.
- This is because if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion, that would impinge on the freedom of conscience guaranteed to all the citizens of the country alike.
- Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of others.
- Thus “religious conversion” would describe the abandoning of adherence to one denomination and affiliating with another.
- For example, Christian Baptist to Methodist or Catholic, Muslim Shi’a to Sunni.
- In some cases, religious conversion “marks a transformation of religious identity and is symbolized by special rituals”.