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Law on love jihad can be challenged, says U.P. Law Commission head

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had recently said that he would bring an “effective law” against “love jihad”.  


If the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government brings a “limited scope legislation” restricting marriages between a Hindu and a Muslim in the garb of curbing “love jihad”, it would not stand in law, says Justice (Retired) Aditya Nath Mittal, Chairperson of the State Law Commission.

A communal slur, “love jihad” is a term used by the Hindu right wing and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to target inter-faith relationships and marriages involving a Muslim male.

In November 2019, the U.P. State Law Commission (UPSLC) had submitted a report along with a draft legislation to the State government recommending a new law to regulate conversions and control conversions at the behest of fraud, inducement, allurement, coercion and those done for the sole purpose of marriage.

In the context of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announcing at a rally recently that he would bring an “effective law” against “love jihad”, Mr. Mittal says the U.P. Home Department is “examining” his draft and it is “possible they could bring a law [based on it] with minor changes”.

However, Mr. Mittal clarifies that his report does not mention “love jihad” nor restricts the scope of conversions to just Hindu-Muslim relationships.

“We have not mentioned jihad or love jihad anywhere because our report does not target any particular sect. Our report is broad,” Mr. Mittal told The Hindu.

“If a limited scoped legislation is brought [by the government], that can be challenged and certainly that will not stand in law,” he said.

While the government is yet to spell out any follow-up on Mr. Adityanath’s announcement, senior lawyer of the Allahabad High Court Ravi Kiran Jain says it is “apparently unconstitutional”.

“If a Hindu and Muslim [are getting married], they are calling it love jihad. How can you define love jihad?” asked Mr. Jain.

“If you prohibit persons of two religions from marrying, then also it is illegal,” he said.

In its report titled “Freedom of Religion”, the UPSLC said existing provisions of the Indian Penal Code were not sufficient to curb and control conversions caused by allurement, fraud, misrepresentation and inducement.

The draft of the 268-page legislation submitted by the UPSLC to the government says conversion done for sole purpose of marriage would be declared null and void. Also, the burden of proof as to whether a religious conversion was not effected through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage lies on the person who has caused the conversion and the person facilitating such conversion.

Violation of the provisions of the law would invite a jail term of not less than one year extendable to five years. If a member of the Scheduled Caste was converted, the jail term would be a minimum of two years and could be extended to seven years.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:59:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/law-on-love-jihad-can-be-challenged-says-up-law-commission-head/article33031762.ece

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