Keywords: – Karnataka, Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, Anti Conversion Laws, Congress.
According to reports, the Congress-led government in Karnataka has made the decision to abolish the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act, 2022, which was implemented by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
This legislation aimed to prohibit illicit conversions between religions through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or any fraudulent methods.
In December 2021, the Karnataka legislative assembly passed the contentious Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021.
After emerging victorious in the legislative assembly elections last month, the INC has recently established its control over the State government in Karnataka.
The Bill’s Section 3 prohibits the act of changing one’s religion through misrepresentation, coercion, fraud, undue influence, force, allurement, or by using the promise of marriage. Any infringement of this provision carries penalties, including imprisonment for a period of three to five years, along with a fine of ₹25,000.
In cases where the conversion involves a minor child, a person of unsound mind, a woman, or a person belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the duration of imprisonment is extended to ten years, in addition to a fine of ₹25,000.
According to the Bill, individuals who intend to convert to another religion are required to declare their intention to do so in advance, at least thirty days before the conversion, to the relevant District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate.
The responsibility of providing evidence that a religious conversion did not occur through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, fraud, or by means of marriage rests on the person who facilitated the conversion and any accomplice who aided or encouraged the conversion.
Previously, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) parties had expressed their opposition to the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, which was introduced by the previous government led by the BJP.
Written by- Mubashara Fatima, College name- Unity PG and Law College, Semester- 6th, intern under Legal Vidhiya