Governor gives assent to anti-Conversion Ordinance

Thaawarchand Gehlot

Thaawarchand Gehlot | Photo Credit: File Photo

Amid opposition by Christian religious leaders, the State government on Tuesday promulgated the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2022.

The Ordinance, which seeks to prohibit unlawful conversion from one religion to another by “misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means” was promulgated through a special gazette notification.

The anti-conversion Bill was adopted by the Legislative Assembly in December 2021 while it is yet to be brought up before the Upper House.

Referring to a delegation of Christian religious leaders petitioning Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot against the Ordinance on Monday, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra insisted that the legislation did not aim to target any religion. It was only an effort to prevent conversion by force or allurement, he said.

The Ordinance did not have any clause that seeks to curtail the Constitutional rights of any religion, he maintained.

Among other things, the Ordinance seeks to punish violators with imprisonment of three to five years and a penalty of ₹25,000. Instances of forced conversion of a minor or a person of unsound mind or a woman or a person belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe are punishable with imprisonment of three to 10 years and a fine of ₹50,000. Mass conversion would be punished with imprisonment of three to 10 years and a fine of ₹1 lakh.

The Opposition has slammed the legislation itself as well as the need to take the Ordinance route. Congress leaders have alleged that the BJP government took the Ordinance route in the light of impending elections to local bodies.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 8:10:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/governor-gives-assent-to-anti-conversion-ordinance/article65422996.ece