Centre’s Plea against forced conversion in India
Polity & Governance
3rd Dec, 2022
The Ministry of Home Affairs has added that “the Right to freedom of religion does not include a fundamental right to convert people to a particular religion”.
Right to Freedom of religion in India:
- The Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these.
- In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the State
- Constitutional Provisions:
- Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion
- Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs
- Article 27: Freedom to pay taxes for the promotion of any particular religion
- Article 28: Freedom to attend religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions.
What motivates people to convert?
- Conversion based on Marriage
- Conservation to uplift social status
- Conversion for monetary benefits
- Conversion to promote Illegal activities like Terrorism
- Conversion for Jobs
- Threats of forceful conversion.
- Freedom of Religion laws’ is currently in force in 8 states:
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- The problem of Inducement or allurement.
- Vulnerable Groups: Tribals, adolescents, women, unaware people especially in Rural areas
Supreme Court Judgements on Marriage and Conversion:
- Hadiya Judgement 2017:
- Matters of dress and of food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership, are within the central aspects of identity.
- Neither the State nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability every person to decide on these matters.
- The principle that the right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21.
- The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefits do not hold water.
- Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case of Allahabad High Court 2020:The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty (Article 21).
S. Puttaswamy or ‘privacy’ Judgment 2017: Autonomy of the individual was the ability to make decisions in vital matters of concern to life.