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Allahabad High Court Grants Bail To Woman Accused Of Forcefully Converting Religion of 19-Yr Old

Akshita Saxena
26 March 2021 12:40 PM GMT
Allahabad High Court Grants Bail To Woman Accused Of Forcefully Converting Religion of 19-Yr Old
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The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to a woman, accused of abducting a 19-year-old girl and forcing her to convert her religion. The woman has been charged by the UP Police under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020. The provisions of the Ordinance, that have now taken force as an Act, declare unlawful religious conversion as...

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The Allahabad High Court recently granted bail to a woman, accused of abducting a 19-year-old girl and forcing her to convert her religion.

The woman has been charged by the UP Police under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020.

The provisions of the Ordinance, that have now taken force as an Act, declare unlawful religious conversion as a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

It provides- No person shall 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 nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion:

Section 5 of the Act prescribes a minimum punishment of 1 year, which may extend to 5 years, and fine of at least Rs. 15,000/- in case of such unlawful conversion.

In the instant case, the Applicant Chandbibi had sought bail in connection with a FIR registered at the Tambaur Police Station in Sitapur District for the alleged commission of offences under Sections 364, 366, 368 and 120-B of IPC and Section 3/5 of the Ordinance.

Chandbibi claimed that she was not named in the FIR and had been falsely implicated in the case.

It was submitted that the victim was not recovered from her custody and as per the prosecution case, the victim had appeared before the Police Station along with her father, soon after the abduction.

She further submitted that when the victim's statement under Section 161 of CrPC was recorded by the Investigating Officer, no allegation of any kind was levelled against her.

The Additional Government Advocate however opposed the prayer for bail on the ground that in the additional statement of the prosecutrix, it was specifically stated that amongst other persons who were instrumental in pressurizing her for changing her religion, the instant Applicant was one of them.

The Single Bench of Justice Mohd. Faiz Alam Khan however noted that the in her statement under Section 164 CrPC, the prosecutrix had not made any imputation against the Applicant.

The Bench was informed that in her statement under Section 164, the prosecutrix made no allegation of any kind either regarding kidnapping or of any abetment, against the Applicant. In fact, she had categorically stated that she went with co-accused Jibraeel on her own volition and free will and she is in love with him and that she had changed religion on her own volition.

Considering the totality of the facts, and that Charge sheet has already been submitted, the Bench said that it finds substance for the purpose of releasing the Applicant on bail.

Other orders on religious conversions

Last year, the High Court had stayed the arrest of one Nadeem, booked by under the Ordinance, accused of developing an illicit relation with the Complainant's wife with the purpose of converting her religion.

"Victim is admittedly an adult who understands her well being. She as well as the petitioner have a fundamental right to privacy and being grown up adults who are aware of the consequences of their alleged relationship," a Division Bench comprising of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal had observed.

Earlier this month, the Madhya Pradesh High Court granted Anticipatory Bail to a Catholic nun, booked under MP's anti-religious conversion law, for allegedly attempting to convert a Hindu woman to Christianity.

It was alleged by the complainant that her husband, who was ailing with a mental disorder, was promised to be cured by the applicant herein if the complainant and her family got converted to Christianity. It was also stated in the FIR that she (the applicant) had given the allurement that the Christian God is greater than the Hindu God.

On the other hand, the counsel for the applicant submitted that the complaint is false and registered only out of a sense of frustration experienced by the complainant on account of her being terminated from the service of the Convent.

Having heard both the parties, the Court ordered that till the next date of hearing, the applicant be enlarged upon temporary bail.

Case Title: Chandbibi v. State of UP

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