UP govt mulling ordinance to check forcible religious conversionsUpdated: Sep 20, 2020, 19:33 IST
The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling to promulgate an ordinance to check ‘forcible, coerced and allurement-induced religious conversions, including ones in the name of love’, said a senior state government official.
The government has already studied in detail the proposal for the ordinance pending with it as the UP Law Commission had submitted a draft legislation ‘Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019’.
The proposal is once again attracting attention after the Kanpur police recently set up an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to look into reports of ‘love jihad’ in the Kanpur area.
“I understand some work has gone into it at the government level,” said UP Law Commission chairman justice Aditya Nath Mittal on Friday. He had submitted the 268-page report, along with the draft legislation, to chief minister Yogi Adityanath on November 21, 2019 after working nearly six months on it.
Justice Mittal’s report, along with draft legislation, suggests provisions for punishment in cases of forcible, coerced, allured religious conversions and the power to the civil court to declare a marriage null and void if it was solemnised for religious conversion as its primary purpose.
It also suggests making a provision for a person to submit a declaration to the district magistrate, a month before his/her conversion and a similar declaration from the priest (pujari, maulvi, priest) about the execution of that conversion.
Justice Mittal, in November 21 last, had said that in December 2017, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had suggested a new law for preventing forcible conversion and that any re-conversion should not be considered an offence. After that, the commission worked on the report.
Justice Mittal had then said: “We submitted the report and the draft bill of the Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019 to the CM. The report is against the forced, coerced, fraudulent, allured conversion and not against any willful conversions.”
The report, including the draft legislation, was prepared after researching pre and post-independence laws in India and the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
It said states like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand had made special laws to ban conversions by force, fraud, marriage or allurement.