Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on December 20 said that the notification of the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill 2022, which was passed during the last budget session, has now been issued by framing the rules of the Act.
“During the last budget session, the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill 2022 was passed and it has now been notified. Under this Act, no one can convert anyone’s religion by putting pressure, by pretending to marry, or by intimidating/threatening,” Anil Vij said.
He said that a provision had also been made in this Act that if someone wanted to change their religion voluntarily, then an application could be given to the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district. If the Deputy Commissioner is satisfied, then the application can be approved.
Upon verification, if the district magistrate finds that force or inducement has been used or is likely to be used in any conversion and that a conversion has taken place without notice, he may refer the case along with all material adduced during the course of the inquiry to the concerned police station for registration of a criminal case and its investigation.
According to the notified rules, any person intending to convert to another religion shall, prior to such conversion, give a declaration in Form ‘A’ to the district magistrate of the district in which he is permanently residing.
“In case the person intended to be converted is a minor, both of the parents or surviving parent, as the case may be, shall give a declaration in Form ‘B’.
“Any religious priest and/or any person who intends to organise conversion under the Act shall give prior notice in Form C to the district magistrate of the district where such conversion is proposed to be organised,” the rules state.
While making a declaration before the district magistrate, such individuals will have to specify details like a reason for the conversion, how long they have been professing the religion which they have decided to renounce, whether they belong to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, occupation and monthly income.
Further, if the conversion is done by allurement, forcefully, coercion or fraudulent means, there is a provision for imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs 1 lakh. The law also delineates that if anyone is concealing his religion with an intention to marry shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than three years to ten years and shall be liable to pay a fine not less than Rs 3 lakh. Anyone conducting a mass conversion is punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years and may extend up to 10 years and shall also be liable to pay a fine not less than Rs 4 lakh, according to the law. “Recently, there has been a case of unlawful conversion in the Sonipat district and it can be registered under this Act. A punishment of 5 to 10 years can be imparted under this Act,” the Haryana Minister said.
Several states such as Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand also have anti-conversion laws.