Published: 06th May 2022
Madras High Court directs TN gov't to frame guidelines to prevent religious conversions on campuses
Justice Mahadevan stressed the need for framing guidelines to check religious conversions on campuses."What is the difficulty in framing the guidelines?" he asked
The Government of Tamil Nadu gave assurance to the Madras High Court that if religious conversions are reported in schools, stringent action will be initiated.
It was Additional Advocate General (AAG) J Ravindran who made the submission before a vacation bench of Justices R Mahadevan and S Ananthi. When a petition seeking orders to ban religious conversions in educational institutions of the state came up for hearing, this assurance was given to the high court.
"Only two stray instances were cited by the petitioner. The government has already taken appropriate action and will take stringent action in case of such activities if reported," he told the bench.
The AAG also went on to question the petition's very maintainability, he said that it is bereft of material. He also further contended that it was with a malafide intention that the petition was filed as it referenced only two stray instances, on which, appropriate action has already been taken.
However, Justice Mahadevan stressed the need for framing guidelines to check religious conversions on campuses."What is the difficulty in framing the guidelines?" he asked the AAG.
The judge also pointed out that while one has the right to practice his religion but no right to convert and hence, directed the state to record its submissions on Friday while allowing the petitioner to place further materials before the court.
The petitioner, Advocate B Jagannath, prayed for the court to issue orders to the state so that it can frame guidelines and take the required steps, including corrective measures, to prohibit/prevent and ban proselytisation and forced religious conversion of all religions in all government and aided schools that come under the government's control.
He also wanted the guidelines to be framed within a timeframe so as to prevent exploitation of young gullible and innocent children.
One of the two incidents he cited was the death of Lavanya from a Thanjavur school run by Christian missionaries and the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the girl's death.
He also pointed out the incident of a teacher forcing a student to kneel down in a Kanyakumari government school.
The bench adjourned the matter to Friday, May 6.