Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approved the Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020. This approval comes after Uttar Pradesh’s Governor assent to the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra said, “Under the new Bill, forcing religious conversion on someone will attract 1-5 years of imprisonment and a minimum Rs 25,000 fine.”
Section 3 of the bill states anyone found guilty of abetment to religious conversion shall face imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs 25,000. Attempt to hide one’s religion will be punishable by imprisonment of three to ten years and a fine of at least Rs 50,000
If a minor or a woman from Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste categories is forced into conversion, the perpetrator will be imprisoned for two to ten years and fined up to Rs 50,000. Blood relatives of victims of such religious conversion can file a complaint, the bill further states.
Provision made for the imprisonment of five to ten years and a fine of at least Rs 100,000 for an attempt to mass religious conversion.