Centre questions locus of pleas against State conversion laws, alleges Teesta Setalvad of creating division in society on communal lines
The Central government on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against a bunch of petitions challenging anti-conversion laws currently in force in eight states of the country, questioning the locus of the petitioners, especially targeting the plea filed by activist Teesta Setalvad.
Filed through the Ministry of Home Affairs, the affidavit alleged that organisations such as the Citizens for Peace and Justice, run by Setalvad, showed less concern for the public and more to political benefits arising out of it.
The Ministry further said that the credibility of such organisations was under serious doubt.
As per the affidavit, organisations such as CPJ used these petitions for the purpose of creating discrimination and division in the society on the basis of caste and communal lines.
At present, the organisation was carrying out its mission in Assam and has run campaigns in many other states also, it pointed out.
The Central government further alleged through the affidavit that Seetalvad had collected huge funds in the name of Gujarat riot victims and embezzled it. Criminal proceedings were going on against Setalvad and other office bearers of CPJ in this connection, it added.
Seeking to dismiss the petition on the basis of locus, the Ministry said that Teesta ‘allowed’ her name to be used through its two office bearers at the behest of some selected political interest and also ‘earned’ out of such activity.
However, the affidavit said that if the petitioner was bona fide contesting the present petition purely in public interest, it could not have any objection, since the same matter was being heard by the Apex Court in other proceedings.