As per the draft ordinance, if anyone found to have married with sole purpose of changing a girl's religion, the marriage would be declared null and void and the person may face jail term of up to 10 years.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
The Uttar Pradesh government under Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday cleared a draft ordinance to check what it calls Love-Jihad. The draft, cleared by Cabinet, however, states that it is to check ‘unlawful religious conversions’ and ‘inter-faith marriages with the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion’. As per the draft ordinance, if anyone found to have married with sole purpose of changing a girl’s religion, the marriage would be declared null and void and the person may face jail term of up to 10 years.
“Those getting the conversion done in violation of the provisions of the proposed law would have to face jail term of up to 10 years,” said a government statement cited by The Indian Express. And if it is found that the conversion is done forcibly, through atrocity or cheating, the offence will be non-bailable.
Informing about the ordinance, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Sidharth Nath Singh said that his government has taken a big decision and it was necessary for maintaining normal law and order in the state and to ensure justice for women, especially those from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He further said more than 100 cases of forcible conversions have come to light. “The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard,” the minister said.
The proposed ordinance has a provision for jail term of 1 to 5 years, and a minimum fine of Rs 15,000. However, in case the girl is from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the person can be jailed for 3 to 10 years with a minimum fine of Rs 25,000. In case of mass conversions done forcibly or through cheating, the jail term would range from 3 to 10 years with a minimum fine of Rs 50,000.
The minister said that if someone wants to convert their religion after marriage, an application will have to be submitted to the District Magistrate two months in advance. “The conversion can take place if permission is granted,” he said.
Last year, the UP State Law Commission submitted a report, proposing that conversion done for sole purpose of marriage to be declared null and void. The process to bring a law was expedited after chief minister Yogi Adityanath recently said that those waging “love jihad” should either mend their ways or be prepared for their final journey.
Not only UP, the BJP-ruled states of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have also announced that they would bring a law to check “love jihad”.