BHOPAL: The state cabinet has approved the Religious Freedom Bill 2020 keeping in mind the rising number of Love Jihad cases. The Bill will be put up for approval before the House beginning from Monday. Once the Bill is passed the Religions Freedom Act 1968 will be null and void.
There are provisions for ten years' jail term and a fine of Rs 50, 000 against those who will try to convert women, people of SC, ST and minors to other religion against the Act. If one wants to change religion, one has to take permission from the collector two months in advance. If the priests, Maulavis and Pujaris responsible for conversion do not inform the collector, will be in jail for five years and have to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. There are stringent provisions for such marriages as are performed through enticement, threat and conspiracy. The religious conversion not done according to the Act will be scrapped. Such marriages as are performed through the above measures will also be declared null and void.
There are also provisions for women victims and their children who will be treated as the heirs of their fathers' properties. Nevertheless, they will not be converted to their fathers' religion. Their paternal religion will be the religion that they had at the time of their birth. The crime is non-bailable under the Act, and the case can be heard only at the session court. An accused has to collect evidence to prove his innocence. An officer of above sub-inspector rank can probe such cases. Besides parents, brothers and sisters, any other family members or legal guardian can file a complaint about religious conversion at the court. Provisions have been made to take action against the organisations and associations involved in religious conversion.