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Indian Supreme Court: Anti-conversion law may be ‘unconstitutional’

Catholics in India expressed optimism following the Supreme Court’s recent comments that a draconian anti-conversion law may be found to violate the Indian Constitution [1].

During a May 16 hearing concerning the anti-conversion law in northern Uttar Pradesh state, the Supreme Court noted that “some parts [of the law] may seem to be violative of the fundamental right to religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.”

“This Supreme Court observation gives us great hope,” Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore in southern Karnataka state told CNA.

“The court observation highlights the primacy of the fundamental right of freedom of conscience,” he said. “We do not support or indulge in fraudulent conversions. But the law should not be used to persecute us and deny our fundamental right.”

Twelve of India’s 28 states have criminalised religious conversions, including religious conversions that are voluntary and not forcibly coerced. The laws have led to the arrest of clergy and instigated acts of violence against Christians.