On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to transfer to itself, the petitions filed in the Allahabad High Court challenging the ordinance brought by the Uttar Pradesh government against religious conversions, which among other things, criminalizes religious conversions for marriage.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde sternly remarked, “We have issued notice does not mean High Court cannot decide. People are making light of High Courts these days. High Court is a constitutional court.”
“If the Allahabad High Court is going to decide the cases, why should we interfere,” added CJI Bobde while dismissing the application as withdrawn.
On the other hand, PS Narasimha, appearing for the UP government urged the top court to allow the transfer application citing to avoid multiplicity of proceedings before the High Court and the Supreme Court. He added that the HC has listed the matter for hearing on 2nd February.
However, the apex court reiterated stating, “If the Allahabad High Court is seized of it, and we are not going to hear before it, why should we stop the HC? We would like to have the judgment of the High Court also.”
Supreme Court Issued Notice
Earlier, on 6th January, the Supreme Court had issued a notice on the petitions challenging the UP and the Uttarakhand government’s ordinances against religious conversions particularly for marriage. However, the top court refused to stay the laws.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Government filed its counter-affidavit before the Allahabad High Court and requested Chief Justice Govind Mathur to adjourn the matter sine die. Additional Advocate General Manish Goyal submitted that since the Top Court has already taken cognizance of the matter and has issued notice to State Government, it may not be appropriate for the High Court to continue the hearing.
After the High Court refused to adjourn the petitions, the Government approached the top court under Article 139A of the Indian Constitution.
“The question involved is identical to the writ petitions pending before this Hon’ble Court. pendency before the High Court will lead to multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting decisions and hence the same may kindly be withdrawn/transferred to this Hon’ble Court,” read the application filed before the top court.