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”.
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.