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Anti-conversion bill in Karnataka

Date: 25 December 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Karnataka legislative Assembly passed The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, better known as anti-conversion bill.

 

Background

Law brought by Karnataka is similar to the ones brought by states such as Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. 

 

Details

  • Complaints can be filed by family members or any other person who is related to the individual who is getting converted. 

  • Payment of a compensation of Rs 5 lakh (on court orders) to victims of conversion by the persons attempting the conversion. Double punishment has been prescribed for repeat offences.

  • Conversion has been made a cognizable and non-bailable offence, which can be tried in a magistrate’s court under the proposed law.

 

Objective

It prohibits conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, allurement or marriage.

 

Provisions for marriage

Marriages conducted with the intention of conversion can be declared null and void by a family court or a jurisdictional court.

 

Procedure for conversion

  • Any person intending to convert to another religion will have to notify the district magistrate two months in advance.

  • One month notice has to be provided by the person carrying out conversion and the District Magistrate (DM) should carry out enquiry to find out the real motive behind the conversion.

  • Within 30 days, the DM has to be informed about the conversion and they must appear in-person before the DM to confirm their identity.

  • The DM will inform the required authorities about the conversion, which will ensure that they get all the benefits in terms of reservations and other benefits.

 

Punishment

  • Three to 10 years prison and a fine of Rs 50,000 for those converting minors, women or persons from SC/ST communities.

  • Prison for three to five years and a fine of Rs 25,000 for those violating the law in the case of people from general categories.

 

Concerns

  • The anti-conversion law will not apply to an individual who reconverts to his immediate previous religion.

  • There are concerns that fringe elements will make use of the law to stop inter-religious marriages.