Uttar Pradesh government has moved forward with the Love Jihad Law as chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet passed the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion ordinance on Tuesday.
The law comprises of a fine of an amount stretching from 15000 to 50000 rupees. It also consists of a jail term from a year to 10. The law also states that conversion for the sake of marriage will also be considered null and void.
The ordinance will be implemented after the governor’s nod as the pandemic cloud is over the winter session of the assembly.
Sidharth Nath Singh, spokesperson for the Government has said the ordinance was necessary to maintain law and order in UP and ensure justice for women, especially from SC/ST communities.
“The law was necessitated by the rising incidence of forced conversions in the garb of marriage. More than 100 such cases have come to light. These conversions were carried out with deceit and force. This made it necessary to bring in a law. There is a high court order as well which states religious conversion for the sake of marriage is illegal,” said Singh.
The punishment for indulging in forced conversion according to the ordinance is a jail term of 1-5 years and a fine of Rs 15,000 for accused.
If minors or SC/ST women have been forced to convert, the prison term will increases to 3-10 years and the fine would be Rs 25,000. If the case is of community or mass conversion, the jail term is 3-10 years and the fine slapped on the organisation engineering the act would be Rs 50,000, the ordinance states. The organisation’s licence would also be cancelled.
The decision as to who will decide if it is forced or not will fall on the person who is getting converted and the person who is converting.
Singh added that,“If someone willingly wanted to convert for the sake of marriage, s/he would have to give a notice two months in advance to the district magistrate concerned.” If they fail to do so, they will invite a fine of at least Rs 10,000 and a jail term of six months to 3 years.
While speaking at an election rally in Jaunpur last month, Yogi Adityanath had promised a strict law against “love jihad”, quoting an order from the Allahabad High Court. The single-bench judge had said religious conversions only for the sake of marriage was unacceptable.
This was however challenged as a two-judge bench of the same court later observed that the judgment was “bad in law”.