Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021

On December 23, 2021, “Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021” was passed in the Assembly. The bill is popularly known as anti-conversion bill.

Key Points

  • The bill is being opposed, tagging it as “anti-people”, “inhuman”, “unconstitutional”, “anti poor” and “draconian”.
  • Bill was passed by a voice vote.

Background

According to Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister, J C Madhuswamy, initiation of the bill was started by the Law Commission of Karnataka under the advice of Congress government in 2016.  Draft bill was prepared under the aegis of Social Welfare Department, by the Law Commission

About Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill

  • This bill provides for protection of the right to freedom of religion as well as prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by force, misrepresentation, coercion, undue influence, allurement or by any fraudulent means.
  • It has the provision of imprisonment from three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000.
  • For violation of provisions with respect to minors, SC/ST & women, offenders will be imprisoned from three to 10 years and a not less than Rs 50,000.
  • As per bill, accused will require to pay up to Rs five lakh as compensation to those who were made to convert.
  • In cases of mass conversion, there is a provision of 3-10 years jail term along with a fine of up to Rs one lakh.
  • It also directs the family court to declare such marriage null & void, which has happened for sole purpose of unlawful conversion, by a man of one religion with a woman of another religion, either by converting the woman before or after marriage or by converting himself before or after marriage.

Provision for person who wish to convert

The bill provides that, a person who wish to convert to another faith will have to give a declaration in a prescribed format at least 30 days in advance to District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate, who will be specially authorised by District Magistrate.

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