Lucknow, Nov 22 : Uttar Pradesh Law Commission has submitted a report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and proposed a new law to check forcible religious conversions with recommending punishment up to five years jail.
The report, along with draft legislation, which was handed over to the CM here on Thursday suggests provisions for punishment in cases of forcible, coerced, allured religious conversions and the power to the civil court to declare a marriage null and void if it was solemnized for religious conversion as its primary purpose.
Commission chairman justice AN Mittal and its secretary Sapna Tripathi gave the documents to the chief minister.
Justice Mittal said here on Friday that in December 2017, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had suggested a new law for preventing forcible conversion and that any re-conversion should not be considered an offence. The report also suggested that a punishment from one to five years should be made in case of violation of the conversation law.
The submitted report and the draft bill of the Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019 and some of the highlights of the suggestions include making a provision for a person to submit a declaration to the district magistrate, a month before his/her conversion and a similar declaration from the priest (pujari, maulvi, priest) about the execution of that conversion. It also suggests giving power to the civil court to declare a marriage null and void if it was solemnised with the primary purpose of conversion. The report is against the forced, coerced, fraudulent, allured conversion and not against any willful conversions.
The report said that the commission was of the view that existing legal provisions were not enough to check forcible religious conversions and a new law was required like in 10 other states — Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The 268-page report, including the draft legislation, was prepared after researching pre and post-independence laws in India and neighbouring countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. (UNI)