A 32-year-old Hindu man, seeking to convert to Islam, has moved the Gujarat High Court to direct Bharuch district authorities to expedite the process as more than a year has passed since he submitted an application for the same.
Petitioner Jignesh Patel’s lawyer MT Saiyad on Thursday said Bharuch’s collector has withheld Mr Patel’s application for more than a year, despite a sub-divisional magistrate’s inquiry report filed in February 2020 giving a favourable opinion that he may be granted permission for conversion.
In a recent order, Justice Bela Trivedi directed the district collector to decide on Mr Patel’s application “as expeditiously as possible”, preferably within eight weeks.
“The application seeking permission of the collector at Bharuch is pending for more than a year. The petition was filed to direct the collector to decide on the application,” Mr Patel’s lawyer said.
The sub-divisional magistrate’s report established that Jignesh Patel was not under pressure to convert, as mandated in the state’s anti-conversion law, Mr Saiyad said.
Mr Patel submitted his application to the collector on November 26, 2019, with a declaration that he was not under pressure or allurement for conversion.
The petitioner said in his affidavit that he was attracted to Islam and wanted to convert.
He had been living like a Muslim for six years observing fasts during Ramzan, offering namaz and following other rituals associated with the religion, he said in the affidavit.
His application was even supported by one Imran Patel, the person who was to preside over the conversion, originally scheduled on January 1, 2020, but the collector never responded, Jignesh Patel said in his plea before the high court.
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