The law ministry has told the Centre that it cannot bring in an anti-conversion law as it is exclusively for the states to legislate on such matters. Sangh Parivar affiliates, which have been conducting ceremonies to convert members of minority community to Hinduism, have been demanding a central law to ban proselytization.
According to sources, the law ministry told home officials that conversion issue was purely a state subject and the Union government had no jurisdiction to enact such a law.
The law ministry cited a 1977 Supreme Court judgment upholding the competence of the Orissa (now Odisha) and Madhya Pradesh assemblies to enact anti-conversion laws to maintain public order, a state subject.
“The ministry will take a considered view on the issue after looking into other aspects,” a home official said.
As the Sangh Parivar’s ghar wapsi campaign generated controversy, the ruling BJP leaders and some Union ministers said they were ready to bring in an anti-conversion law. They also asked for support from the Opposition.
Home minister Rajnath Singh even sought a debate on the need for a central law. “… we are only saying that there should be an anti-conversion law. There should be a debate over it. We must think on bringing an anti-conversion law,” Singh said at a conference of state minority commissions in March.
Home officials had sought the view of the law ministry after some ministers raised the issued in Parliament.
Other than Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Himachal Pradesh, too, have enacted law against conversions.