Churches have welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court of India on a plea seeking law on religious conversion. The Supreme Court of India on April 9 said persons above 18 years of age are free to choose their religion and dismissed a plea seeking directions to the Central Government to enact a nationwide law against religious conversion and black magic. The petition in the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, a Supreme Court lawyer.
According to the UCA News report, a bench of Justices R.F. Nariman, B.R. Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy said that India’s Constitution allows a citizen of 18 years of age the freedom to join a religion of choice. A law against conversion will go against constitutional provisions, the judges said.
However, after experiencing the forced religious conversion cases, several state's Legislative Assemblies have passed a law on unlawful religious conversions, under the Constitutional rights of State. The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Ordinance, 2020 promulgated in November 2020. The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019 came into effect in December 2019. The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet had approved the Freedom to Religion Bill, 2020 as an Ordinance.