Uttarakhand cabinet nod to bring anti-conversion bill to assembly
The Uttarakhand cabinet has approved a tough new draft anti-conversion law which the government is likely to introduce in the assembly’s budget session this month, an official said on Tuesday.
The cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, approved the draft legislation on Monday night, the official added.
If the bill is passed, Uttarakhand will join states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat that have anti-conversion laws.
According to the official, who was present at the cabinet meeting, the bill makes forced conversion a non-bailable offence. Anyone seeking conversion is required to submit an application and an affidavit with the district magistrate one month in advance. Any failure to adhere to the guidelines might mean jail terms ranging from three months to a year. “The law (also) proposes that any marriage solemnised for religious conversion will be considered illegal,” added the official.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the law would distinguish between genuine inter-faith marriages which sometimes involve religious conversion and those solemnised for religious conversion. The state is taking up the legislation days after the SC upheld the marriage of a 26-year-old Kerala woman, Hadiya, who converted to Islam and wed a Muslim man.
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