Karnataka

Karnataka Cabinet decides to take ordinance route to clear Anti-conversion Bill

Members of Christian community protest against attack on community members and proposed anti-conversion law in Hubballi on October 25, 2021. File

Members of Christian community protest against attack on community members and proposed anti-conversion law in Hubballi on October 25, 2021. File | Photo Credit: Kiran Bakale

Ahead of the impending elections to various local bodies, including Zilla Panchayat and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to take the Ordinance route to get clearance for the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021.

The Bill that has been adopted by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in its special session in Belagavi in December, 2021, is yet to be introduced in the Legislative Council, where the ruling BJP lacks majority.

Also read | Explained | Karnataka’s anti-conversion legislation

Announcing the decision to promulgate an ordinance, Karnataka Law Minister J. C. Madhuswamy told reporters in Bengaluru that the ordinance route was chosen as the Council was not in session.

The timing of the decision to promulgate the ordinance has given raise to speculation that the ruling BJP is keen to use the proposed legislation as part of its core agenda during the crucial impending elections to Zilla/Taluk panchayats and BBMP that accounts for highest chunk of Assembly seats. This speculation has arisen as the government could have waited for just about a month when the ruling BJP would have got majority in the Upper House after the scheduled elections from the State Assembly to elect members to the Council.

The proposed legislation envisages stringent provisions for “forced” or “induced” conversions. It aims at prohibiting conversion by “misrepresentation, force, allurement, fraudulent means, or marriage.”

It proposes a maximum imprisonment of 10 years for forcible conversion of persons from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe communities, minors and women to another religion.

The Opposition parties have taken exception to the Bill and termed them as “draconian.”


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Printable version | May 12, 2022 10:51:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-govt-takes-ordinance-route-to-implement-anti-conversion-law/article65407518.ece