Karnataka Assembly Passes Anti-Conversion Bill – Free PDF Download


The News

  • The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 was tabled in the Karnataka State Assembly on December 21 and was passed on December 23.
  • The bill was passed in assembly by voice vote amidst protests from opposition parties.
  • The Bill is modeled along the lines of similar laws in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which prohibits “unlawful conversions” from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means.

Features of the bill

  • Anti Conversion Provisions:
    • The bill prohibits conversion from one religion to another by
      1. Misrepresentation
      2. Force
      3. Fraud
      4. Allurement
      5. Marriage

Features of the bill

  • Anti Conversion Provisions:
    • The bill proposes a jail term of three to five years and a fine of Rs 25,000 for those violating the law in the case of people from general categories.
    • The bill proposes a jail term of three to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 for those converting minors, women or persons from SC/ST communities.
    • The Bill proposes imprisonment for those who indulge in mass conversion from three to 10 years and a fine of Rs one lakh.
  • Note: Courts can also order the accused to provide for compensation upto 5 lakh to the victim of conversion

Features of the bill

  • Who can complain?
    • According to the Bill, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage or adoption or in any form associated or colleague can lodge a complaint.

Features of the bill

  • What if one wants to Convert on their own?
    • Any person from Karnataka who wants to convert to another religion after the law comes into force will have to notify the local district magistrate (DM) 2 months in advance.
    • The person who is carrying out the conversion must provide 1 month notice after which the district magistrate has conduct an enquiry through the police on the purpose of conversion.
    • DM will be responsible for due inquiry into the case. Once the conversion is held valid, DM will inform revenue authorities, social welfare, backward class commission & other departments.

Lets Wait & Watch

Is it just Karnataka?

  • Since 1954, on multiple occasions, Private Member Bills have been introduced in the Parliament, to regulate religious conversions but never approved.
    • Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill 1954
    • Backward communities (Religious protection) bill 1960
    • Freedom of religion bill 1979 etc
    • In 2015, the Union Law Ministry stated that Parliament does not have the legislative competence to pass anti-conversion legislation hence different states have been brining these laws.

Is it just Karnataka?

  • Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967
  • Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantraya Adhiniyam 1968
  • Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1978
  • Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Act 2002
  • Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003
  • Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2006
  • Rajasthan Dharma Swatantraya Bill, 2008
  • Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act 2018
  • Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 then act

Constitutional Setup

Issues involved

  • Secularism
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Conscience




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