Karnataka Anti-Conversion Bill: The Anti-Conversion Bill was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday amid a walkout by the opposition Congress. The bill was passed by the Legislative Council last week with minor amendments, seeking to change the ordinance existing to give effect to the bill.
Let us inform that earlier in December last year, the assembly had passed the ‘Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill’. Since, the bill was pending for passage in the Legislative Council, where the ruling BJP government did not have a majority at that time. The government later promulgated an ordinance to give effect to the bill in May this year. The bill was finally passed by the Legislative Council on 15 September.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Gyanendra on Wednesday moved the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2022 (passed by the Assembly and with amendments by the Legislative Council) for reconsideration and passage. After the assent of the Governor, the law will be effective from May 17, 2022, the date on which the ordinance was issued.
Congress Deputy Leader UT Khadar in the Assembly said that everyone opposes forced conversions. He said that the intention of this bill is not right. It is politically motivated, illegal and unconstitutional. It will be challenged in the courts and the courts can either grant a stay or quash it. Congress MLA Shivanand Patil said that there is every possibility of it being misused and it can also lead to harassment.
BJP gave this argument in defense
Defending the bill, Minister Gyanendra said that there is no scope for misuse or confusion in the bill and it is not against religious freedom in any way. He said that the Bill is in accordance with the Constitution and the Anti-Conversion Bill was brought by the Law Commission after studying various such laws. During the passage of the bill in the Assembly in December, Gyanendra had said that eight states have passed or are implementing such a law and Karnataka would become the ninth state to implement it.
Provisions under the Anti-Conversion Act
- As far as the legal provisions in this bill are concerned, it proposes three to five years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25,000, while for violation of provisions in respect of minors, women, SC/ST offenders would be punished with three to ten years. shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than Rs 50,000.
- The bill also provides for payment of up to five lakh rupees to the accused as compensation to those who convert, and in cases of mass conversion, there will be a jail term of 3 to 10 years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
- It also states that any marriage which is done by a man of one religion with a woman of another religion by illegal conversion or vice versa either before or after the marriage by converting himself or by the woman before or after the marriage. changed, shall be declared null and void by the Family Court.
- Where a Family Court is not established, the Court having jurisdiction may try such a case on a petition filed by either party against the other party to the marriage.
- The Bill states that persons who wish to convert to any other religion may, in respect of the district or place of their residence, to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate specially authorized by the District Magistrate, at least 30 days before birth within the State. will give a declaration in a prescribed format.