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Madhya Pradesh Government Notifies "The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2020" against religious conversion through fraudulent means

Madhya Pradesh Government Notifies
On Saturday 27th March, 2021, the Madhya Pradesh Government notified a Law against religion conversion through Fraudulent means, including those for the sake of marriage, that stipulates a jail term of up to 10 years for 

The Act titled "The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2020" was published in the Gazette notification after the approval given by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Anandiben Patel. 

It penalises religion conversion through fraudulent means, including those for the sake of marriage, besides the religious conversion by misappropriation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion or by any other fraudulent means. 

The Preamble of the Act reads—

" An act to provide Freedom of Religion by prohibiting conversion from one religion to another by misappropriation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means and fir the matters connected there with or incidental there to"

The Act stated that no person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person by use of misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat of force, undue influence, coercion or marriage or by any other fraudulent means.

Key Provisions in the Act—

Section 3:

Prohibition of Conversion from one religion  to another 

This section probhibits every person  not to convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person in use of misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means. It also prohibits that if any person abet or conpire such conversion, then such conversion shall be deemed  null and void. 

Section 4:

Complaints against the conversion of religion 

Under this provision the police inquiry is prohibited till a written complaint is given tk that effect by a person converted in contravention if section 3, or his family or by the person who is related by blood, marriage, or adoption, guardianship or Cusdodianship. 

Section 5:

Punishment for conversion of section 3

If any person breaks the provission under section 3, then such person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall be less then 1 year but which may extend to 5 years and shall also be laible to fine which shall not be less then 25000.

As per the section the cases in which the section 3 is violated by a minor, a women, members if scheduled castes and scheduled  tribes such person shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term not less then 2 years but which may extend to 10 years and also be laible to fine not less then 50000.

The act further provided that if any person conceals his religion in such a manner the the other person with whom he is going to marry believes that his religion is truely the one professed by him shall be imprisoned for a term not less then 3 years but which may extend to 10 years and shall also be laible to fine not less then 50000.

The act provides that if any person contravines the provission of law and is found guilty of indulged in mass conversion shall be punished with imprisonment not less then 5years but which may extend to 10 years and shall also be laible to fine not less then 10000.

Section 6:

This section declaires any marriage performed in voilation of section 3 is null and void.

Section 7: 

Jurisdiction of Court

For declaring a marriage null and viod, the petition shall be presented by any person mentioned in section 4 i:e, a person converted in contravention of section 3, his family or any person who is related by blood, marriage, or adoption, guardianship or Cusdodianship. 

Such petition shall be presented before the Family Court or the Court having the Jurisdiction of a family Court within the local limits wherein—

a) The marriage was performed

b) The respondent and petitioner reside at the time of presentation of petition

c) Either party to a marriage last resided together. 

Section 8: 

Inheritance Right

The interesting thing about the law is that the act provides that even thesection 6 declaires that the marriage performed in contravention of section 3 is declaired as null and void but the child born out of that marriage can inherent the fathers property and the succession to the property by such child is governed by the law of inheritance. 

Section 9:

Right to maintaince

According to this law, the victim women will be entitled to get the maintaince. 

Section 10:

Declaration before the Court of religion 

According to this section, if a person voluntary desires to convert his religion, such person shall apply tk the District Magistrate at least 60 days in advance. 

This section further provided taht if such person fails to do so, he/she shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which shall not be less then 3 years, but which may extend to 5 years and shall also be laible to fine not less then 50000.

Section 11:

Punishment for violation of procession of act by an institution or organisation

This section provides that if an organisation or an institution contravenes the provissions of the act, then the person who are the incharge of the affairs of the organisation or an institution shall be subject to punishment. 

This section can also cancell the registration of the organisation or an institution. 

Section 12:

Burden of Proof

According to this section, the burden  of proof that the religion conversion was not effected through misrepresentation, allurement, use if threat or force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means is on the accused. 


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