On 9th January 2021, Governor of MP Anandiben signed the ordinance to regulate religious conversions, and made it a “law” officially.Important provisions-
1. Section 2(c)Under this section, the concept of “Conversion” has been defined as renouncing one religion and embracing the another. However, returning from one religion to the parent religion is excluded from the ambit of conversion.
2. Section 2 (a)It defines the term Allurement as any gift, gratification, any kind of benefits, status, divine please or educational qualifications shall for inducing conversions.
3. Section 3Under this provision, conversion or attempt to convert another person through, allurement, threat, misrepresentation, marriage, coercion, or any other fraudulent acts is banned.
4. Section 4Under this provision it has been stated that any person who is related to the converted person can give a written complaint regarding the illegal conversion.
5. Section 5If a person is convicted under section 3 of the Act, he shall be punished under section 5, with imprisonment for 1 year, which can extend up to 5 years or a fine not less than 25,000 Rs or both. If a person is found guilty of illegally converting a minor, then the imprisonment can extend to 10 years and a fine of 50,000 Rs. The proviso to sec.5 punishes the person who misrepresents his religion to marry a person of another religion.
6. Section 6The provision nullifies the marriages made on such misrepresentation.
7. Section 12As per this section, the burden of proof that conversion was not made through any fraudulent mean lies on the accused.
Moreover, the procedure for the conversion is also well established under the Act, which mandates sixty days prior notice to the District Magistrate, in the prescribed format by the person who is willing to convert and must swear before the authority that such conversion is free from any coercion, threat, allurement or misrepresentation.