Haryana Anti-Conversion Bill
The Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Bill, 2022, was presented by the Haryana government. Following the adoption of the Anti-Conversion Bill in numerous other BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, the state Cabinet approved the draft of the Bill on February 9, 2022.
The bill aims to make it illegal to convert to any other religion through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, compulsion, allurement, or any other fraudulent means, or by marriage or for marriage. The Constitution guarantees each individual the basic right to profess, practise, and propagate his religion, according to the draft Bill's objectives and reasons. The individual has the right to freedom of conscience and religion cannot be extended to construct a communal right to proselytize since the right to practice belongs both to the person transforming and the individual seeking to be converted. However, there have been accounts of both mass and individual religious conversions. "Such incidents not only infringe on the freedom of religion of the persons so converted but also militate against the secular fabric of our society that conversion just for the sake of marriage is unacceptable," the Supreme Court said.
Provisions of the Draft Bill:
• In the case of juveniles, women, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes, the Bill increases the penalties for such conversions.
• It further states that the accused bears the burden of proving that a conversion was not effected by deception, use of force, threats, outsized influence, compulsion, allurement, or any other deceptive methods, or by marriage or for marriage for the purpose of conversion.
• Every person who converts from one religion to another must submit a declaration to the relevant authority stating that the conversion was not accomplished fraudulently.
• It also allows for the nullification of marriages that were solemnised under the guise of religion.
According to the proposed Legislation, cases of so-called "love jihad" are on the rise. "In the recent past, it has come to our attention that, in order to strengthen their own religion by converting people from other religions, people marry people of other religions by either misstating or concealing their own religion, and then compel such other individual to transform to their own religious practice after getting married," it says.
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution protects the freedom to profess, preach, and practise religion, as well as the right of all religious groups to conduct their own affairs in religious matters, subject to public order, morality, and health.
Nevertheless, no one should be forced to follow their religious views, and no one should be forced to follow a religion against their will.
There has never been any national legislation that prohibits or regulates religious conversions. However, since 1954, Private Member Bills to govern religious conversions have been submitted in (but never adopted by) Parliament on several times. In addition, the Union Law Ministry stated in 2015 that Parliament lacks the legislative authority to implement anti-conversion laws. Several states have passed 'Freedom of Religion' legislation over the years to prohibit religious conversions by compulsion, deception, or enticement.
2017 Hadiya Judgment:
The major parts of identification are clothing and food, thoughts and ideologies, love and relationship, and love and partnership. Neither the state nor the law may impose a partner's decision or limit a person's freedom of choice in these situations. Article 21 is founded on the premise that everyone has the right to marry the person of their choice.
K.S. Puttaswamy or Judgment 2017:
Individual autonomy was characterized as the capacity to make choices in life-or-death situations.
Governments enacting such laws must guarantee that they do not restrict people's fundamental rights or obstruct national integration; rather, these regulations must find the right balance between liberties and false conversions.
This article is written by Tanishq Chandel, of Amity Law School.