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Himachal Pradesh Legislature Passes Bill To Prohibit Forced Religious Conversion [Read Bill]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
31 Aug 2019 7:04 AM GMT
Himachal Pradesh Legislature Passes Bill To Prohibit Forced Religious Conversion [Read Bill]
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"Marriage which was done for the sole purpose of conversion may be declared null and void by the Family Court on a petition presented by either party."

The Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh has passed a Bill prohibiting forced and induced conversion. The Bill titled as Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019 is meant to re-enact the law to provide freedom of religion by prohibiting of conversion from one another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement, or by any fraudulent means or by...

The Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh has passed a Bill prohibiting forced and induced conversion.

The Bill titled as Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019 is meant to re-enact the law to provide freedom of religion by prohibiting of conversion from one another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement, or by any fraudulent means or by marriage.

The earlier law, Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2006, will be repealed when the new Act comes into force. The 2006 Act provided a maximum of two years imprisonment while the Bill proposes five year imprisonment for violation of the provisions of the Act.

Section 3 of the Bill reads: No Person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage, nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion.

The relevant provision in the 2006 Act, did not contain the terms such as 'misrepresentation, coercion, marriage, undue influence. The bill defines 'coercion' as an act of compelling an individual to act against his will by use of psychological pressure or physical force causing bodily injury or threat. Threat of divine displeasure or social ex-communication also falls within the meaning of 'force.'. The bill however clarifies that re-conversion to parent religion will not be deemed to be conversion under the Act.

Most significantly, Section 5 of the Act provides that any marriage which was done for the sole purpose of conversion may be declared null and void by the Family Court on a petition presented by either party. Further, a person who desires to convert to other religion should give a declaration before District Magistrate that he is converting on his own volition and without force, coercion, undue influence, inducement or fraudulent means. 

Click here to Read/Download Bill


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