What's New :
UPSC CSE Result 2023.Download toppers list

Supreme Court: Forced conversions threatens national security and freedom of religion

  • Published
    15th Nov, 2022

The Supreme court(SC) has said that religious conversions by means of force may “ultimately affect the security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience of citizens”.


Supreme court observation:

  • The top court expressed grave concern over alleged religious conversions by use of force, allurement, and deception.
  • The court has asked the govt. to file an affidavit on steps being taken to curb this "dangerous trend.
  • The court has also made remarks:
    • No fundamental right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
    • Freedom of religion is not guaranteed in respect of one religion only but covers all religions alike.

Need for Anti-Conversion Laws:

  • No Right to Proselytize: The Constitution confers on each individual the fundamental right to profess, practice, and propagate his religion.
    • The individual right to freedom of conscience and religion cannot be extended to construe a collective right to proselytize.
    • The right to religious freedom belongs equally to the person converting and the individual seeking to be converted.
  • Fraudulent Marriages: In the recent past, several instances have come to notice whereby people marry persons of other religions by either misrepresentation or concealment of their own religion and after getting married they force such other person to convert to their own religion.
  • To address the issues like;
    • Threats of forceful conversion.
    • The problem of Inducement or allurement.
    • Religious conversion is not a Fundamental Right.

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.

Status of Anti-Conversion Laws in India:

  • Constitutional Provision: The Indian Constitution under Article 25 guarantees the freedom to profess, propagate, and practice religion, and allows all religious sections to manage their own affairs in matters of religion; subject to public order, morality, and health.
    • However, no person shall force their religious beliefs and consequently, no person should be forced to practice any religion against their wishes.
  • Existing Laws: There has been no central legislation restricting or regulating religious conversions.
    • The Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill was introduced in 1954 in Parliament but it was never passed.
    • The states that have enacted anti-conversion laws make religious conversion by force or allurement a punishable offense.
  • Recently Haryana and Karnatakahavebrought Anti-Conversion Bill to their respective legislative assemblies.

Freedom of Religion laws’ are currently in force in eight states:

  1. Odisha
  2. Madhya Pradesh
  3. Chhattisgarh
  4. Gujarat
  5. Himachal Pradesh
  6. Jharkhand
  7. Uttarakhand
  8. Arunachal pradesh

Causes of Religious Conversions in India:

  • Conversion based on Marriage
  • Conservtion to uplife social status
  • Conversion for monetary benefits
  • Conversion to promote Ilegal activities like Terrorism
  • Conversion for Jobs

Vulnerable Groups:

  • Tribals
  • Adolescents
  • Women
  • Unaware people especially in Rural areas

Supreme Court Judgements on Marriage and Conversion:

  • HadiyaJudgement 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 SarlaMudgal 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-PriyankaKharwar 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.
GS Mains Classes GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now