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REVIEW OF HARYANA ANTI-CONVERSION BILL

 


REVIEW OF HARYANA ANTI-CONVERSION BILL


Off lately ,Haryana's government has released a draught of the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022. The bill makes it illegal to convert to another religion through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, compulsion, allurement, or any other fraudulent means, or by marriage or for marriage. Other states have approved legislation against religious conversion, including Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

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REQUIREMENT FOR  ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS?

1. No Right to Proselytize: Each individual has the fundamental right to profess, practise, and propagate his or her religion, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. A communal right to proselytise cannot be construed from an individual's right to freedom of conscience and religion. For the person converting and the one seeking to be converted both have the right to religious freedom.


2. Fraudulent Marriages: In the recent past, some cases have come to light in which people marry people of different religions by either misrepresenting or concealing their own religion, and then force the other person to convert to their own religion after they marry.


PROVISIONS OF THE DRAFT BILL

The Bill provides for greater punishment for such conversions in respect of minors, women, Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

It further states that the accused bears the burden of proving that a conversion was not effected by misrepresentation, use of force, threats, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or any other fraudulent methods, or by marriage or for marriage for the purpose of conversion.

Every person who converts from one faith to another must submit a declaration to the appropriate authority stating that the conversion was not accomplished fraudulently.

Besides it also allows for the nullification of marriages that were solemnized under the guise of religion.






STATUS OF ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS IN INDIA

Article 25 of the Indian Constitution protects the right to profess, propagate, and practise religion, as well as allows all religious groups to regulate their own affairs in religious matters, subject to public order, morality, and health.

It is implicitly obvious, however, that no one has the right to force their religious beliefs on others, and that no one should be forced to practice any religion against their will.

There has been no central legislation banning or controlling religious conversions as far as existing status is concerned.

However, since 1954, Private Member Bills to govern religious conversions have been submitted in (but never adopted by) Parliament on several times.

In addition, the Union Law Ministry stated in 2015 that Parliament lacks the legislative authority to implement anti-conversion legislation .Over the years, several states have enacted ‘Freedom of Religion’ legislation to restrict religious conversions carried out by force, fraud, or inducements.


LIMITATION ASSOCIATED WITH ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS

The substance material in the proposed draught Bill is in violation of the constitutional scheme, which grants every individual the fundamental right to profess, practise, and propagate his religion, because it makes it illegal to profess, practise, or propagate another religion without the permission of a district magistrate, even if marriage does not occur.


The proposed Bill ran counter to the Constitution's fundamental duties, which included promoting harmony and a spirit of brotherhood among people of all religious, linguistic, and regional differences. It also ran counter to provisions of the Special Marriage Act, which was enacted to allow marriages between couples of different religions.

The proposed Bill is in violation of the constitutional framework of personal liberty and privacy. The basic right to privacy, as defined by Article 21, safeguards an individual's liberty to make personal choices and decisions. A nine-judge Supreme Court landmark decision reaffirmed the fundamental right to privacy and stated unequivocally that it is up to the individual to use her freedom to make those personal choices.


CONCLUSION      


Though viewing various instances in the past, it is quite evident that there are instances of unlawful conversion in a veil of unlawful marriages, however, there are certain provisions in the anti-conversion bill which doesn’t make it secular in all the terms in the society per se . Therefore  it is very accentuated to rectify these provisions  in order to maintain a tranquil environment in the society with the same time legally protecting victims from the brunt of such wrongful conversion.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


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