• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

    Karnataka Assembly passes anti-conversion bill, opposition continues to protest


    Sep 22, 2022
    Image Source : PTI
    Karnataka Assembly

    Anti Conversion Bill: Amid protests from the Congress and a walkout from the House, the Karnataka Assembly on Wednesday passed the “Anti-Conversion Bill” with some minor amendments. The bill was passed by the Legislative Council last week. With this the ordinance which was brought before the passage of this bill was withdrawn. The state government had brought an ordinance in May to give effect to the bill, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party did not have a majority during that time and the bill was pending in the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council finally passed the bill on 15 September.

    Home Minister Arga Gyanendra introduced the ‘Karnataka Religious Freedom Rights Protection Bill 2022’ in the House on Wednesday. After the approval of the Governor, this bill took the form of law from 17 May 2022, as the ordinance was promulgated on this date. Deputy leader of Congress in the assembly UT Khadar said that all people are against forceful conversion, but the intent of this bill is not right. “It is politically motivated, illegal and unconstitutional. It will be challenged in the court and the court can quash it.”

    Congress said that there is every possibility of its misuse

    Congress MLA Shivanand Patil said that according to the bill, a convert can file a complaint related to blood and there is every possibility of its misuse. Gyanendra defended the bill saying that there is no apprehension of misuse or confusion of the bill and it is not against religious freedom in any way. He said the bill is in conformity with the Constitution and the Anti-Conversion Bill was brought by the Law Commission after studying various such laws.

    A section of the Christian community is opposing it

    The bill is being opposed by a section of the Christian community and others. The bill provides for punishment for conversion by wrong interpretation, coercion, under influence, coercion, inducement or any other wrongful means. Under this, there is a provision of imprisonment of three to five years and fine of 25 thousand rupees on conviction. Apart from this, if the aggrieved party is a minor, woman, scheduled caste or tribe, then there is a provision of imprisonment of three to ten years and fine of 50 thousand rupees or more.

    According to the Bill, on conviction, the accused may have to pay compensation up to Rs 5 lakh to the converted person. Mass conversion can be punished with imprisonment of three to 10 years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees. According to the Bill, marriages performed for the purpose of illegal conversion can be annulled by a family court.

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