Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Bill, 2020

The State Government of Madhya Pradesh has proposed to table a bill named “Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020” in the forthcoming Vidhan sabha. The bill is also known as “Dharma Swatantrya Bill 2020”.

Key Points

  • This Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion bill is seen as a check against rising incidents of forced conversion through inter-religion marriage, fraud, etc.
  • The bill proposed that the use of inducements, seduction, or fraudulent practices for marriage and religious conversions will attract a heavy penalty and five years’ imprisonment.
  • Such marriages are proposed to be null and void. The Bill has also proposed the offence to be cognizable and non-bailable.
  • The bill mandates the kin of the person to file a complaint if forced to convert to another faith for the purpose of marriage.
  • Any person, who is willing to convert religion for marriages, will have to inform the District Magistrates at least before 1 month, along with religious persons conducting the conversions.

Other States with a similar bill

Recently, the Haryana state government also highlighted that the state government is looking over the possibility of making a new law for forced conversions. Himachal Pradesh government also passed the Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019 (anti-conversion bill). Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka governments have also made announcements regarding a similar bill.