Karnataka LA passes Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill

The Karnataka legislative assembly has passed the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 popularly known as the anti-conversion bill.

The ‘Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021’, provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means.

Unlike publicised this is not anti-conversion bill, it is instead anti illegal conversion act

The bill proposes an imprisonment from three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000, while for violation of provisions with respect to minors, women, SC/ST, offenders will face imprisonment from three to 10 years and a fine of not less than Rs 50,000. The bill also makes provisions for the accused to pay up to Rs five lakh as compensation to those who were made to convert, and with regards to cases of mass conversion the bill proposes 3-10 years jail term and a fine of up to Rs one lakh.

It also states that any marriage which has happened for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or vice-versa by the man of one religion with the woman of another religion, either by converting himself before or after marriage or by converting the woman before or after marriage, shall be declared as null and void by the family court. Where the family court is not established, the court having jurisdiction to try such case, on a petition presented by either party thereto against the other party of the marriage. The offense under this bill is non-bailable and cognizable.

The bill mandates that the persons who wish to convert to another faith shall give a declaration in a prescribed format at least 30 days in advance to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate specially authorised by the District Magistrate in this regard of his residing district or place of birth within the state.

Also, the person who wishes to convert will lose the religion of his or her origin and facilities or benefits attached with it, including reservations; however, one is likely to receive the benefits entitled to, in the religion he or she converts to.

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