HC issues notice to MP govt on petition against anti-conversion law
- The MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, prohibits conversion by misrepresentation, allurement, force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any other fraudulent means.
The Madhya Pradesh high court has issued a notice to the state government on a petition challenging the provisions of the recent anti-conversion law, the office of the state’s advocate general said.
The MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, prohibits conversion by misrepresentation, allurement, force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any other fraudulent means.
Abetment and conspiracy for conversion is prohibited under it and any marriage solemnised in violation of the proposed law will be considered null and void. The law provides for provides for up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of ₹1 lakh for anyone found guilty of “forcing women, minors, and people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to undergo religious conversion”.
The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by Bhopal-based student Amratansh Nema, stated that the “the provisions contained in the ordinance are a grave violation of constitutional provisions and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals”.
Advocate general Purushaindra Kaurav accepted the notice on behalf of the state government and prayed for time to seek instructions and file counter-affidavit, according to the advocate general’s office.
The high court bench comprising of chief justice Mohammad Rafiq and judge Vijay Kumar Shukla gave the government eight weeks to submit a reply.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the law is aimed at preventing “love jihad”, a term used by a section of right-wing groups to for relationship between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman.
Uttar Pradesh has promulgated a similar law which prescribes a jail term varying between one to five years, in addition to fines of up to ₹15,000.