Madhya Pradesh anti-conversion ordinance notified, comes into effect

ANI
·2-min read
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Representative Image

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], January 9 (ANI): An ordinance which prohibits and provides for punishment for conversion by "misrepresentation, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means" has been notified by the state government and has come into effect.

The Home Department of Madhya Pradesh government on Saturday notified the 'Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020' in the state Gazette. It was earlier approved by state Governor Anandiben Patel.

The law prohibits religious conversion "by misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means".

It says any marriage conducted with the intention of religious conversion will be considered null and void.

Anyone desiring to covert will need to submit a declaration 60 days before in a prescribed form to the district magistrate, stating that he is doing so without any coercion and on his own free will.

Anyone found guilty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to a fine which shall not be less than Rs 25,000.

Anyone found guilty of the crime in respect of a minor, a woman or a person belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than Rs 50,000.

"Provided further that whoever intends to marry a person of any religion other than the religion professed by him and conceals his religion in such a manner that the other person whom he intends to marry believes that his religion is truly the one professed by him shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than Rs 50,000," the notification said.

In case of mass conversion, a person or persons shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh.

In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the term of the imprisonment shall not be less than five years but may extend to ten years and there will also be fine. (ANI)