Frame guidelines to stop forced conversions in schools: HC to TN govt

J Ravindran, Additional Advocate General questioned the bonafide nature of the litigation and wanted the judges to throw it out at the threshold stage.
Frame guidelines to stop forced conversions in schools: HC to TN govt
Madras High CourtFile photo

CHENNAI: A vacation bench of Madras High Court on Thursday asked the State government why guidelines should not be framed to stop conversion activities inside the schools.

"What is the harm in directing the State government to frame guidelines to avoid religious conversions in schools? There is a right to profess religion but not to convert, " a division bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice S Ananthi observed on admitting a petition filed by B Jagannath, a Chennai-based advocate.

The petitioner wanted a direction to the school education department to take steps against the forced conversion of religion in the government-run schools and government aided schools in the State.

J Ravindran, Additional Advocate General questioned the bonafide nature of the litigation and wanted the judges to throw it out at the threshold stage.

"When two of such incidents occurred in Tirupur and Kanniyakumari, the government had responded to that immediately and action was taken against people who tried for religious conversions in schools, " the AAG submitted.

The AAG further informed the court that the government will not allow forced conversions in the schools and that stern action will be taken against people who indulge in such activities.

"The petitioner has not pointed out the date and place where the forced religious conversions had occurred and it needs to be dismissed," the AAG argued.

The petitioner alleged that district education officers who are responsible to prevent forced conversions had miserably failed to protect the education institutions from the people who attempt to convert the faith of students in schools.

He further recalled the suicide of Thanjavur based student Lavanya and alleged it was due to forced conversions.

On recording the submissions, the bench posted the matter to Friday directing the petitioner to file additional typeset materials to substantiate his contentions.

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