Madhya Pradesh government will bring “Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act 2020”
Bhopal, Dec 6
“No person in the state will be able to convert anyone from one religion to another directly or otherwise through marriage or any other fraudulent means by seducing or intimidating anyone,” stated Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Chief Minister further added that strict action will be taken against the person making such an attempt. The Madhya Pradesh government is going to bring about “Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act 2020” in this connection.
Chief Minister Chouhan stated this while holding a discussion on the format of Religious Freedom Act – 2020 at a meeting of high level officials in Mantralaya on December 5. Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains, Additional Chief Secretary Home Dr. Rajesh Rajaura, Principal Secretary Law etc. and others were present in the meeting.
Self, parents or blood relatives can file complaint
Under the proposed Act, if any person attempts religious conversion, the affected person or parents or blood relatives will be able to file a complaint. The offense shall be cognizable, non-bailable and can be taken up by the Sessions Court. A police officer below the rank of Sub Inspector of Police will not be able to investigate the case. The accused will be liable to prove that the conversion has not been done.
Marriage with the intention of conversion will be considered null and void
Marriage conducted with the intention of conversion will be considered null and void. For this provision, application has to be made to the Family Court or jurisdiction of Family Court.
Provisions of punishment
Any person violating Section 03 of the Act will face imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs 25 thousand. In the case of minors, females, SC, ST, two to 10 years imprisonment and at least Rs 50 thousand fine has been proposed. Similarly, attempt to hide one’s religion will be punishable by imprisonment of three to 10 years and a fine of at least Rs 50 thousand. Provision for imprisonment of five to 10 years and fine of at least Rs. one lakh is being made for attempting mass religious conversion (of two or more persons).
What Section-3 states
Under Section 3 of the proposed “Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act”, no person can convert or attempt to convert either directly or otherwise any other person from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage. No person can attempt to abet or conspire religious conversion.
Declaration before religious conversion
According to the proposed Act, in the event of religious conversion of one’s free will, it will be binding on the concerned person, priest or person who intends to conduct a conversion, to give a letter of declaration /letter of information to the District Magistrate of the district where the conversion is to take place.