Govt can’t insist on certificate for religious conversion: HC

Govt can’t insist on certificate for religious conversion: HC
TNN | Updated: Mar 15, 2018, 00:21 IST

Kochi: The government cannot insist on certification from government-approved institutions when a citizen declares that he/she has changed his/her religion,the Kerala high court has held.

Justice A Muhamed Mustaque gave the ruling on a petition filed by Aysha (67) — formerly Devaki — of Perinthalmanna who converted to Islam with her son. She had filed an application with the directorate of printing to notify her change of name and religion but she was asked to produce a certificate from a recognized institute or organization.

The government had authorized Maunathul Islam Association of Ponnani, Malappuram and Tarbiatul Islam Sabha in Kozhikode to certify conversions to Islam.

The court said the government could not question a citizen’s decision to convert to another religion. “The right to profess and practice a religion is a fundamental right. One has the liberty to choose his own faith… The government, therefore, will have to act upon one’s declaration as to the change of his faith or conscience. Maturity of such decision cannot be subject to any examination,” it said.

The government can conduct an inquiry if it doubts the conversion claim but that does not mean the government can insist on production of any certificate. “The right to practise cannot be burdened based on certificate issued by an organization or institution,” it said.

source : TOI



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