NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday opposed before the Supreme Court a plea by Teesta Setalvad's NGO against religious conversion laws passed by States of Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, Haryana and Karnataka, claiming it espoused divisive politics and is an accused in a cheating case.
In a written response to a petition filed by NGO 'Citizens for Justice and Peace', the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the petitioner herein purports to act in public interest in which it "selectively takes up public causes for the objects and intents other than public interest".
"From series of judicial proceedings, it is now established that the petitioner no.1 allows its name to be used through its two office bearers (Teesta and another) at the behest of some selected political interest and also earns out of such activity," it claimed.
The petitioner is guilty of collecting huge funds exploiting the agonies of riot affected people for which criminal proceedings are going on against Teesta Setalvad and other office bearers, it pointed out.
"Under the guise of serving public interest, the petitioner deliberately undertakes, and consciously and surreptitiously espouses, divisive politics in an attempt to divide the society on religious and communal lines. Similar activities/endeavors of the petitioner organization are also found in other States. Presently, this activity is going on in the State of Assam," it added.
Questioning the locus standi of the petitioner, the Ministry said that the prayers made in the instant petition are made in other petition also, which will be examined by this court, subject to hearing all necessary and affected parties.
"If the petitioner is bonafide contesting the present petition purely in public interest, it cannot have any objection if the same issue is gone into by this court in other proceedings," it stated.
Attorney General R Venkataramani also contended the pleas filed against state legislations should be heard by the High Court concerned.
"I have serious objections to the petitions," he said.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala fixed all matters including a transfer petition for hearing on Friday.