Hi, today I will explain to you about Anti Conversion Law. In the olden era, there were various Murdered because of Inter Caste Marriages. A very big example of this is the Nikita Tomar Murder Case of Faridabad. And to avoid this situation and to avoid the murders and objections of the family members of these boys and girls, some persons convert their religion to do Inter caste marriage. Himachal Government’s Anti Conversion Law to prevent Inter-Religion Marriages.
Let us discuss in Detail(Anti Conversion Law) some short points.
Faridabad: A month after college student Nikita files a molestation complaint against Taufeeq, he shoots her dead in the CCTV footage going virał on social media, Nikta is seen struggling to get free while the accused Taufeeq forces her. As she refuses to get inside the car, the accused shoots her in a point-blank range and flees the spot with his accomplice. A 20-year-old woman was shot dead in Haryana’s Faridabad district, in October last week. – This gave rise to religious tensions on social media.
Why it is in the news?
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij recently said that his government is considering a law against forced religious conversions. He also sought information about such a law already in force in Himachal Pradesh, during a Vidhan Sabha discussion.
In response to the recent Nikita Tomar murder case in Faridabad’s Ballabhgarh.
Marriage laws in India
- The Special Marriage Act, 1954
- The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- Muslim Personal Law 1937
- The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872
- Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936
.Historical Background(Anti Conversion Law)
• The Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954, was enacted to enable the marriage of couples from different religions, who preferred a civil wedding.
The law has 2 difficult features
1. Prior public notice being given
2. Objections being called
- Couples intending to marry should give notice to the ‘ marriage officer ‘ of the district in which one of them had resided for at least 30 days. The notice will have to be entered in a ‘ Marriage Notice Book ‘ and a copy of it displayed in the office. If one partner is not a permanent resident of the district,
- The marriage officer has to send a copy to the district where that partner has permanent residence. The notice shall be displayed in that district office too.
- The law also provides for objections to marriage.
- Any person can object to the marriage within 30 days of the publication of the notice, on the ground that it contravenes the conditions for a valid marriage.
- The marriage officer has to inquire into the objection and give a decision within 30 days.
- If he refuses permission for the marriage, an appeal can be made to the district court. The court’s decision will be final.
* The Act also lays down that, when a member of an undivided family who professes Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or Jain religions, gets married under SMA – it results in his or her “severance” from the family.
∗These features of the law, place a question mark on the safety and privacy of those intending to marry across religions.
•Many settle for marriage under the personal law of one religion, with the other opting for religious conversion.
While conversion to Islam and Christianity has formal means, there is no prescribed ceremony for conversion to Hinduism.
‘ Religious Conversion Just For The Purpose Of Marriage Is Unacceptable ‘ : Allahabad High Court Dismisses Plea Of Married Couple’
Recent Court Rulings The Allahabad High Court, recently, declined to grant police protection to a couple – of whom the bride was a Muslim who converted to Hinduism.
• The court’s judgment cited past precedents that said conversion should be based on change of heart, and should not be solely for the purpose of marriage.
• In July 2020, the Kerala Registration department decided to discontinue the practice of uploading marriage notices on its websites.
Resulted from complaints, that these were being misused for communal propaganda. The notices will be displayed on the notice boards of the offices concerned.
The Himachal Pradesh Law
Himachal Pradesh had already enacted a law in 2007 which prohibited conversion from one religion to another by force or fraud. Last year, the Himachal Pradesh assembly passed the “Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019”. Similar to Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.
What does the law say?
• According to the Act, no one can convert or attempt to convert another person, from one religion to another, by force, inducement, or by marriage.
• The Act does not cover a person re – converting to his ” parent religion ” .
• Any marriage done for the sole purpose of religious conversion may be declared null and void by a family court on a petition by either party.
Punishment under the law
• All offenses under the Act are cognizable and non-bailable.
Punishment – prison term ranging from 1 to 5 years, along with a fine. In case the victim is a minor, woman, or member of a Scheduled Caste or Tribe, the imprisonment may extend up to 7 years.
Position of Fundamental Rights
Under Article 25 – Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion – a person has the right to propagate one’s religious beliefs to others.
It does not include a right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
Forcible conversions impinge on the ‘ freedom of conscience ‘ guaranteed to all persons alike .
What if anyone wants to convert, under the Himachal Law ?
Under the Act, anyone who wishes to convert to any other religion will have to give a declaration to the district authorities at least one month in advance, specifying that he/she is doing so as per his / her ” own volition or free consent ” .
The religious priest who performs the conversion ceremony also has to inform the authorities at least one month in advance.
The district magistrate will then conduct an inquiry regarding the ” intention, purpose and cause of proposed conversion ” .
Failure to declare the conversion in advance can also result in imprisonment of up to two years.
Home / National / Your BJP – ruled states promise law on love jihad legal experts find the move ‘ unconstitutional ‘
So far there is only a promise of enacting the law but it remains to be seen whether the law as b promised by the ruling party will stand the scrutiny of SC.
Such ‘ Anti conversion laws ‘ laws would be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, which guarantee equality, equality of opportunity, and equal protection of the law and no discrimination on the ground of caste, creed, color, and religion.