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  4. Karnataka Assembly passes anti conversion bill amid protests. What is it about? | Explained in 10 points

Karnataka Assembly passes anti conversion bill amid protests. What is it about? | Explained in 10 points

The "Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021", provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or by any fraudulent means.

Sri Lasya Written by: Sri Lasya @laasiyapriya
Bengaluru Updated on: May 12, 2022 16:26 IST
karnataka assembly
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

 Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai speaks during the Winter Session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly

The Karnataka Assembly on Thursday passed the 'Anti-Conversion Bill', or the "Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021" amid wide protests from the opposition and the citizens. The Bill will now go to the Karnataka Legislative Council. But what is the bill about? 

Here is 'Anti-Conversion Bill' explained:

  1. The "Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021", provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or by any fraudulent means.
  2. The bill proposes imprisonment from three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000, while for violation of provisions with respect to minors, women, SC/ST, offenders will face imprisonment from three to ten years and a fine of not less than Rs 50,000. 

  3. The bill also makes provisions for the accused to pay up to Rs five lakh as compensation to those who were made to convert, and with regards to cases of mass conversion, the bill proposes 3-10 years jail term and a fine of up to Rs one lakh.

  4. It also states that any marriage which has happened for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or vice-versa by the man of one religion with the woman of another religion, either by converting himself before or after marriage or by converting the woman before or after marriage, shall be declared as null and void by the family court. 

  5. Where the family court is not established, the court has jurisdiction to try such a case, on a petition presented by either party thereto against the other party of the marriage. The offense under this bill is non-bailable and cognizable.

  6. The bill that is also being opposed by Christian community leaders, mandates that the persons who wish to convert to another faith shall give a declaration in a prescribed format at least 30 days in advance to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate specially authorized by the District Magistrate in this regard of his residing district or place of birth within the state.

  7. The religious converter who performs the conversion shall also give 30 days advance notice in a format, to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate. 

  8. Also, the person who wishes to convert will lose the religion of his or her origin and facilities or benefits attached with it, including reservations; however, one is likely to receive the benefits entitled to, in the religion he or she converts to, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, who piloted the bill, said. 

  9. Bommai said the bill is both constitutional and legal and aimed at getting rid of the menace of religious conversion. "It is for a healthy society... Congress was indulging in vote bank politics by opposing it now, their double standard is clear today."

  10. The bill was passed by a voice vote, even as Congress members were protesting from the well of the House, demanding continuation of the debate on the bill, that began this morning. 

(with PTI inputs)

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