State Anti-Conversion Laws in India - Description
Dear readers, here we are offering State Anti-Conversion Laws in India PDF to all of you. Many such cases are continuously coming to the fore in the country, in which people are being converted. There is no clear article regarding conversion in the Constitution of India. Converting a person to a new religion by leaving his religion is called conversion. Religious freedom has been mentioned between articles 25 to 28. This can happen both voluntarily and forcibly. Voluntary conversion is not a crime according to Indian law, but forceful, fraudulent, or inducement to convert is a criminal offense in many states.
However, it is not a crime to voluntarily leave one’s own religion and adopt another religion, but if someone converts by greed, force, or blackmail, then it is kept in the category of crime. It has been told that every person in India has the freedom to believe, follow and propagate any religion of his own free will. An appeal has been made many times to enact a law at the national level regarding this, but the Supreme Court has not yet given any decision regarding this.
State Anti-Conversion Laws in India PDF
Punishments prescribed under the UP and MP Ordinances for offenses by individuals for causing/facilitating the conversion
|Mass conversion (conversion of two or more persons at the same time)|
|Term of imprisonment||3-10 years||5-10 years|
|Fine Amount||Rs 50,000 or more||Rs 1,00,000 or more|
Conversion of a minor, woman, or person belonging to SC or ST
|Term of imprisonment||2-10 years||2-10 years|
|Fine Amount||Rs 25,000 or more||Rs 50,000 or more|
Any other conversion
|Term of imprisonment||1-5 years||1-5 years|
|Fine Amount||Rs 15,000 or more||Rs 25,000 or more|
Anti-conversion laws in India
The Constitution guarantees the freedom to profess, propagate, and practise religion, and allows all religious sections to manage their own affairs in matters of religion; subject to public order, morality, and health. To date, there has been no central legislation restricting or regulating religious conversions. Further, in 2015, the Union Law Ministry stated that Parliament does not have the legislative competence to pass anti-conversion legislation.
However, it is to be noted that, since 1954, on multiple occasions, Private Member Bills have been introduced in (but never approved by) the Parliament, to regulate religious conversions. Over the years, several states have enacted ‘Freedom of Religion’ legislation to restrict religious conversions carried out by force, fraud, or inducements.
- (i) Odisha (1967),
- (ii) Madhya Pradesh (1968),
- (iii) Arunachal Pradesh (1978),
- (iv) Chhattisgarh (2000 and 2006),
- (v) Gujarat (2003),
- (vi) Himachal Pradesh (2006 and 2019),
- (vii) Jharkhand (2017), and
- (viii) Uttarakhand (2018).
Additionally, the Himachal Pradesh (2019) and Uttarakhand legislations also declare a marriage to be void if it was done for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion, or vice-versa. Further, the states of Tamil Nadu (2002) and Rajasthan (2006 and 2008) had also passed similar legislation. However, the Tamil Nadu legislation was repealed in 2006 (after protests by Christian minorities), while in case of Rajasthan, the bills did not receive the Governor’s and President’s assent respectively. Please see Table 2 for a comparison of anti-conversion laws across the country.
In November 2019, citing rising incidents of forced/fraudulent religious conversions, the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission recommended enacting a new law to regulate religious conversions. This led the state government to promulgate the recent Ordinance in 2020. Following UP, the MP government also decided to promulgate an Ordinance in January 2021 to regulate religious conversions. We discuss key features of these ordinances below.
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