The state government of Madhya Pradesh has introduced the “Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021” (or Anti-Conversion Bill) in the state assembly. The Anti-Conversion Bill has replaced the ordinance that the government had brought to check the religious conversions through any fraudulent means.

This bill has replaced the ordinance which the state government cleared in December 2020 and promulgated in January 2021. The Anti-Conversion Bill comprises of the provisions of 10 years imprisonment for some cases and fine for violators. The bill was presented by the State Home Minister, Narottam Mishra. Now this bill will be put up for consideration. Members can suggest amendments to the bill. The Anti-Conversion Bill was passed in the assembly on the line of law passed by Uttar Pradesh which have similar provisions.

Backdrop

Madhya Pradesh Governor, Anandiben Patel, given her assent to the “Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020” on 9th January 2021. This ordinance comprised of the provision of penalising the religious conversions through fraudulent means and the marriage. Till date, 23 cases were registered under this ordinance.

What does Supreme Court say on Marriage and Conversion?

Supreme Court have pronounced in several judgements that state and courts have no jurisdiction on the absolute right of adult to choose their life partner. The count has also confirmed in the cases like Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal that religious conversions which is carried without a bona fide belief and to derive some legal benefit is not logical.

Madhya Pradesh Anti-Conversion Bill Introduced Madhya Pradesh Anti-Conversion Bill Introduced