On Tuesday (17 November 2020), Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Narottam Mishra said that the “love Jihad” will bill be introduced soon in the State Assembly and it will also include five years of rigorous imprisonment for the violators.
The charge will be cognizable and non-bailable. Mishra said, “This will be a provision to declare marriages taking place forcefully, out of fraud or by tempting someone, for religious conversion, null and void. Those assisting in committing this crime will also be considered a party to the crime.”
Other provisions of this bill include notifying the District Collector a month in advance before formalizing an inter-faith marriage. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh earlier indicated that new legislation might be introduced against “love Jihad”, a term coined by rightwing outfits opposing the inter-faith marriage. But as per Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the right to marry a person of one’s choice is guaranteed. Mishra further said that “Jihad will not be permitted in the name of love at any cost in the state. Necessary legal provisions to be made against love Jihad.
”The government of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in the State of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also considering introducing legal provisions against “love Jihad”. This issue was again revived after a 21-year old student was shot dead outside her college by a Muslim. The family of the girl alleged that the accused have been pressuring her to convert and marry him. Earlier this year, the Government informed the Parliament that there are no cases of love Jihad which are reported at any central agencies and the term is also not defined under any existing law. G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of State for Home, mentioned that Article 25 of the Constitution guaranteed the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality, and health. Various Courts, such as Kerala High Court also upheld this view. He said in a reply to a written question that, “The term ‘love Jihad’ is not defined under the extant laws. No such case of ‘Love Jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies.”
But however, he mentioned that two cases from Kerala involving inter-faith marriage have been probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Before, NIA was asked to probe whether Hadiya, a Kerala woman, was forcibly converted into Muslim by her husband before marriage. In 2018, the Apex Court set aside the trial Court order and annulled the marriage between Hadiya and her husband Shefin Jahan.