SCRUTINY OF STATE ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS IN INDIA
By Aryan Sinha
A country like India where all religions are practised and worshipped, where people have a constitutional right of “Freedom of Religion”, but there are state laws which prevail over constitutional laws. Out of twenty-eight states and eight union territories, there are eight states which have the statute for “Anti-Conversion” Laws or India’s Freedom of Religions Acts. Those states are Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu. Most of these states have similar content and structure. All these laws seek to prevent any person from converting or attempting to convert, either directly or otherwise, another person through “forcible” or “fraudulent” means, or by “allurement” or “inducement”. In the states like Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh, it excludes the concept of reconversion i.e. to “native’ or “originality”. There is a penalty of monetary fines to imprisonment. Punishment ranging from one to three years and fines ranging from Rs. 5,000 to 50,000. Being having a constitutional right, many have criticized and many have approved the state laws.
This research paper shall be focusing upon the different state Anti-Conversion laws in India or Freedom of religions act, along with the implementation of state laws with reference to different case laws and reports.
Keywords: Religion, Conversion, Constitutional
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