A controversial bill banning religious conversion, which was returned by the then Governor Pratibha Patil in 2006, was on Thursday passed by the Rajasthan assembly amid stormy protests and walkout by opposition Congress.
The Rajasthan Dharma Swatantraya Bill, 2008, reintroduced in the House last week, prohibits conversion by "use of force, allurement or fradulent means" and provides for prison terms of up to five years and fines of Rs 50,000 for offenders.
The anti-conversion bill of the BJP government also has a clause for cancellation of registration of organisations held "guilty" and special protection for minors, women, Scheduled Castes and Sceduled Tribes.
The bill piloted by Home Minister GC Kataria was passed by voice vote by ruling members even as Congress, CPI(M) and Lok Janshakti Party MLAs demanded that it be referred to a select committee.
The opposition also objected to Kataria and Law Minister GS Tiwari's remarks against Patil and demanded that Deputy Speaker R N Vishnoi protect the dignity of the highest office.
Interestingly, the BJP government in neighbouring Gujarat had recently withdrawn a similar legislation after it was returned by the state governor.
Kataria said a "fresh bill" was introduced as the old one passed by voice vote in 2006 was caught between the then state Governor and the President for assent.