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UP Governor Anandiben Patel gives assent to Ordinance on “Unlawful Conversions”

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UP Governor gives assent to Ordinance against forcible religious conversions

On November 28, 2020, Uttar Pradesh(UP) Governor Anandiben Patel gave assent to “Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020” (Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Viruddh Dharm Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadesh 2020) which aims to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversion including those for the sake of marriage.

On November 24, 2020, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet gave its approval to the draft.

Objective:

The main objective of the ordinance is to prohibit conversion of religion through misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage.

Key Points:

i.The ordinance states that a marriage will be declared “shunya” or null and void if the main intention of the marriage was to “change a girl’s religion”.

ii.It makes unlawful conversions a non-bailable offence and cognizable offence and Offenders will face jail terms of upto 10 years.

iii.Individuals who wish to change religion after marriage shall do it after applying to the district magistrate.

iv.If a minor, woman or person belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes were converted through unlawful means, it could invite a jail term of minimum of 3 years and could be extended to 10 years with a fine of INR 25, 000.

v.The ordinance has called for strict action against mass conversions inviting a jail term of not less than 3 years and up to 10 years and a fine of INR 50, 000.

vi.In case of contravention of the law, the ordinance says that the court shall grant appropriate compensation payable by the accused to the victim of conversion which may extend to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh in addition to the fine.

vii.Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, all the offences under this ordinance shall be cognisable and non bailable and triable by the sessions court.

viii.In cases of mass religious conversion, the registration of the social organisations will be cancelled, and strong action will be initiated against them.

Recent Related News:

i.October 27, 2020 Uttar Pradesh has secured First Rank in Disbursing Loans under PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme by approving the highest number of loans under the scheme in the country.

About Uttar Pradesh:

Thermal Power Stations – Singrauli Super Thermal Station, Rihand Super Thermal Power Project
Rivers – Betwa River, Chambal River, Dhasan River, Gandak, Ganga.