It will have provision for five-year jail term, says State Home Minister Narottam Mishra
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday said the BJP government was planning a law that would invite five years’ imprisonment for ‘love jihad’.
Speaking with reporters here, Mr. Mishra said the government would table the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020, in the next Vidhan Sabha session. “We are deciding that the use of inducements, seduction, fraud or duress for marriage and religion conversions will invite five years’ imprisonment,” he said.
Further, he said the Bill would propose the offence to be cognisable and non-bailable. “Similarly, we are making a provision to declare marriages for religious conversion based on inducements, duress, fraud and seduction as null and void.”
In the Bill, he added, those abetting the offence would be considered as culprits just as the main accused. “For action, it will be necessary for those bound by the religious conversions or their parents or siblings to file a complaint,” he said.
As for those indulging in religious conversions for marriages, they will have to inform the District Magistrates at least a month in advance, along with religious persons organising the conversions, said Mr. Mishra.
The announcement comes after similar plans were made public by the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana governments. Recently, the Allahabad High Court repudiated the idea of religious conversion solely for the purpose of marriage.
In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the BJP has 126 seats, while the Congress has 96 seats. After the fall of the Congress government in March, the four Independent and two Bahujan Samaj Party legislators and the lone Samajwadi Party MLA had supported the BJP government.