Karnataka’s anti-conversion bill explained: Everything You Need To Know

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The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 prohibits conversion by fraud, force, allurement, or marriage in order to convert from one religion to another.

The contentious anti-conversion bill was passed by the Karnataka legislative assembly on December 23, 2021, amid lengthy discussions. The bill aims to prevent unlawful religious conversions.

On December 21st, the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, was presented before the state legislative Assembly and passed by voice vote amid objections from the opposition that demanded additional debate on the legislation.

Siddaramaiah, who was the former chief minister of Karnataka, has argued that anti-conversion legislation is unconstitutional and inhumane. Scroll down for more information about Karnataka’s anti-conversion bill explained: Everything You Need To Know.

Main Points on Karnataka’s anti-conversion Bill propose

  • The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Law, 2021 states that conversion from one religion to another through deceit, force, fraud, or allurement is prohibited.
  • Those who convert into their immediate previous religion will not be regarded as having been converted under the Act, according to the bill.
  • Under the bill’s provisions, marriages that are intended to convert would be deemed void and ineffective.
  • The legislation also allows family members or anybody else who is connected to the individual being converted to file a complaint.
  • Conversion of individuals attempting the conversion is punishable by a maximum punishment of three years in prison and a fine. Furthermore, offenders are to be sentenced to double penalties if the conversion is repeated.
  • The bill makes the crime of conversion cognizable and non-bailable. Those convicted of converting people from the general category would face a jail sentence of up to three years and a fine of Rs 25,000, according to the bill.
  • It also proposes a sentence of three to ten years in jail and a fine of Rs 50,000-1 lakh for those who convert minors, women or persons from Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities.

What about those people who want to willingly convert into another religion?

Any individual who wants to convert to another faith must notify the district magistrate two months beforehand, according on the legislation. The person engaged in the conversion will also have to give one month’s notice to allow time for an inquiry through the police on the real purpose of the conversion.

If the individuals do not notify the authorities, they will be sentenced to a jail term of up to 6 months to 3 years if they convert and a sentence of 1-5 years if they carry out conversions. Those who want to convert must give a statement in the form of a notice to the District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate at least 30 days before hand, according on the bill.

The person who wants to convert will lose his or her native religion and the advantages that go with it, including reserved seats. Those converting, on the other hand, will be eligible for all of the privileges associated with the new religion they are joining.

What happens next?

The measure will be sent to the legislative council for consideration, where the state government does not have a majority.

Karnataka Legislative Assembly Total Strength-224

BJP- 121

Independents- 2

Congress- 69

JDS- 32

Karnataka Legislative Council Total Strength- 75

BJP- 26

Congress- 29

JDS- 11

Independents – 5

What happens if the bill is not passed by the Legislative Council?

If the anti-conversion legislation is not passed by the Legislative Council, the government will have other options as legislative councils in states are less powerful than the Rajya Sabha.

The Legislative Council has the power to postpone the bill, but it does not have any say over its content. If the legislation is dealt with by the council, it will be sent back to the Legislative Assembly for reconsideration. It may also be passed through Legislative Council with or without modifications before being returned to the Legislative Assembly.

If the legislative council fails to approve it for the second time or more than one month has passed since its introduction in the legislature, the legislation will be recognized as having been enacted by both houses of the state legislature.

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