R'sthan Governor returns Religious Conversion Bill
When contacted, Rajasthan Law Minister GS Tiwari said that it was a routine process and the government was not bound to follow the Governor's remarks.india Updated: May 19, 2006 18:13 IST
Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil has returned a bill passed by the state assembly seeking a ban on religious conversion, saying its provisions would affect the citizens' right to freedom of religion.
Patil returned the bill to the law secretary early this week, official sources said on Friday.
Hence, the bill could be recommended to the President for approval only if the state government desires, the Governor has stated, according to the sources.
When contacted, Rajasthan Law Minister GS Tiwari said that it was a routine process and the government was not bound to follow the Governor's remarks.
"We will send back the bill to the Governor after taking a cabinet approval soon", Tiwari said.
The bill, passed by the House despite opposition from a section of ruling BJP, opposition Congress and walk out by CPI(M) members last month, makes conversion through allurement, force or fraudulent means a non-bailable offence and provides for punishment of upto five years simple imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 to the guilty.
During and after the budget session, Pradesh Congress President BD Kalla had led a delegation to the Governor demanding she should not give consent to the bill.
Defending the provision of the bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister RS Rathore had argued that it was brought to contain unlawful conversion allegedly by missionary institutions like Kota-based Emmanuel Mission.
First Published: May 19, 2006 18:13 IST