Udayavni Special

Himachal Pradesh passes bill against religious conversion by force, marriage


PTI, Aug 30, 2019, 3:46 PM IST

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh assembly passed a bill on Friday against conversion by force, inducement or through marriages solemnised for the “sole purpose” of adopting a new religion.

The Opposition supported the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019, which was passed unanimously with a voice vote.

Replying to the discussion, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said a new stringent legislation was required as “forced conversion”, especially in Rampur and Kinnaur, was “on the rise”.

The bill seeks to repeal the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2006, which is on similar lines. The new bill proposes stiffer punishments — up to seven years in jail compared to the three years under the existing law.

The bill prohibits conversion by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement, marriage or any fraudulent means. Any marriage for the sole purpose of conversion will also be declared null and void under Section 5 of the bill.

While participating in the discussion on the bill, Congress legislators Asha Kumari, Sukhvinder Sukhu, Jagat Singh Negi and lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha sought changes in some clauses.

Answering Sukhu’s suggestion, Thakur said the 13-year old act was not so effective.

The government decided to bring a new legislation instead of amending the already-existing act as it has only eight sections and it would be no better to add about 10 more sections to it, the chief minister said.

As per the bill, anyone seeking to convert will need to give a month’s notice to the district magistrate, stating that the person is converting on his own. The provision figured in the 2006 law as well and was challenged in court.

The priest who performs conversion ceremony will also give a month’s notice in advance. Those reconverting to their “parent religion” are exempted from this provision.

Replying to Negi’s suggestion, the chief minister said everyone was worried about untouchability, but provisions in the Constitution against untouchability were already there.

According to the new bill, if Dalits, women or minors were made to convert, the jail term will be between two-seven years.

Law Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Rakesh Pathania and Rakesh Jamwal from the treasury bench also participated in the discussion.

Section 10 of the bill states that no person or organisation violating the provisions will be allowed to accept any donation or contribution of any kind from within or outside the country.

The bill will now become an act after its notification following assent by the governor.

Top News

K’taka COVID-19 update: 8364 new cases, 10815 discharges, 114 deaths on Sep 18

Parliament’s monsoon session likely to be curtailed, may end by mid-next week

Farm bills undermine food security system: Congress

Bail hearing of Ragini, Sanjjanaa postponed to September 21

KSNDMC forecasts heavy rainfall for 2 days in some parts of K’taka

Udupi’s Sri Krishna Math to open for devotees from Sept 28

West Bengal has become home to illegal bomb-making: Governor Dhankhar on NIA arrests




Related Articles More

6 al-Qaeda terrorists arrested in Bengal sent to NIA custody till Sep 24

Govt proposes allowing cos with not less than 300 workers to fire staff without its nod

Pak uses drone to drop weapons in J-K’s Rajouri; 3 LeT terrorists arrested

Parliament’s monsoon session likely to be curtailed, may end by mid-next week

Extremely heavy rains predicted in Kerala; Red, Orange alerts issued

MUST WATCH

Tips for married women by Dr. Harsha Kamath Karkala | Udayavani

Drugs Case: Will trace network from Mumbai to Mangaluru, says Compol after Kishore Aman’s arrest

How to outsmart cunning China?

Royal Mahal : Udupi’s Old Building got collapsed | One woman Injured |Udayavani

Mangaluru: Century old well discovered at Hampankatta!

Latest Additions

6 al-Qaeda terrorists arrested in Bengal sent to NIA custody till Sep 24

K’taka COVID-19 update: 8364 new cases, 10815 discharges, 114 deaths on Sep 18

Govt proposes allowing cos with not less than 300 workers to fire staff without its nod

Ethiopia charges prominent opposition figure with terrorism

No shortage of oxygen for COVID-19 patients: K Sudhakar

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.