U P Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020
The ordinance undermines the constitutional principles and rights of Hindu
women. The ulterior purpose of the ordinance is to discipline Hindu women and
control their bodies and sexualities.
The aforesaid law is enacted by the government of Uttar Pradesh. The state
cabinet cleared the ordinance on 24 Nov 2020, following which it was assented by
state governor on 28 Nov 2020.
The object of the ordinance is ‘unlawful conversion from one religion to another
by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any
fraudulent means or by marriage and for the matter connected therewith or
In 2019, Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission under justice Aditya Nath Mittal had
completed a report on unlawful religious conversion and proposal a draft Uttar
Pradesh Freedom of Religious Act ,2019 to provide freedom of religion by
prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by
misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any
fraudulent means or by marriage’.
Procedure For Lawful Conversion
Anybody who wishes to covert from one religion to another has to go through the
procedure prescribed by the ordinance under S 8 & 9 i.e., prior notice and
declaration post conversion respectively.
A declaration (by a person who want to convert his/her religion to another),
that he wishes to convert his/her religion on his/her own and with his/her free
consent without any force, coercion, undue influence or allurement in the form
prescribed in schedule I and the declaration shall be given at least 60 days in
advance to the district magistrate or to ADM specially authorized by district
The religious convertor, who will perform the conversion ceremonies shall also
give a month advance notice in the prescribed form specified in schedule II of
such conversion to the district magistrate or the ADM authorized for the same by
Thereafter the police will conduct the enquiry to ascertain the real intention,
purpose and cause of proposed religious conversions.
S 9 mandates declaration post conversion, a converted person shall have to send
a declaration in the form prescribed in schedule III within two months of
conversion to district magistrate of the district within which the person is
The declaration shall contain all details including Permanent address, place of
residence, religion after and before conversion. The individual has to appear
before the magistrate within three weeks from the date of sending the
declaration and confirm the content of the declaration.
Bad In Law
The ordinance does not affect just inter-faith marriages however they are
against the spirit of and targeting or discouraging, inter-faith marriages. The
ordinance is illegal and unconstitutional moreover the procedure mandated for
lawful conversion are not constitutionally valid they are in violation of the
right to privacy enshrined in article 21 of the Indian constitution.
The personal details of the individual mandated by section 9 of the ordinance
which make the couples extremely insecure and it will become an invitation to
moral policing by right wing groups.
There is a similar provision of prior notice in Special Marriage Act and the
constitutionality of the said provision is sub judice before the apex court. In
the view of the right to privacy judgment the notice requirement cannot
sustained as constitutional. The spirit of Special Marriage Act is diluted by
If two individuals of different faith wish to marry and one voluntarily convert
to another religion for marriage there is nothing wrong in that While declaring
the decisions on 'love jihad' by the single benches of High Court of Allahabad
to be not good law, as The division Bench of ALLAHABAD HC in Salamet Ansari Priyanka
kharwar case ‘religion conversions for marriage were unacceptable’ was not a
Marriage is a personal matter and the state is trying to dictate on personal
matters. Its not the state business to know or monitor which religion an
individual believes in or whether an individual changing his/ her religion. The
state has no authority under the law to examine or monitor the reason or
rationale of conversion of an individual.
The apex court held in Lata Singh vs State of UP, that this is a free and
democratic country once a person become a major, he or she can marry whosoever
he or she likes. If the parent of the boy or girl do not approve of such
inter-caste and inter-religious marriage the maximum, they can do is to cut the
social relation but they cannot give threats or commit or instigate violence and
cannot harass the couple. Interference in a personal relationship, would
constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two
K S Puttaswamy privacy case it was held that no law could interfere with the
privacy rights of the people and enter into their private lives without any
reasonable and justifiable reasons and no law would be held to be a good law if
it attempts to do so without providing a procedure which is proportionate and
which ensures a rational nexus between the object and the means which sought to
achieve them. The triple test i.e.
The action must be sanctioned by law. The proposed action must be necessary in a
democratic society for a legitimate aim, The test of proportionality.
This ordinance fails to pass the triple test miserably hence it is ultra-virus.
Nature of Indian society is so patriarchal whether the marriage is inter-faith
or inter-caste, it is always the women who is adjusting to the family that she
is going into. Law is not the only problem. This law negates the right to choose
the partner. As a letter written by 104 EX IAS officers to Uttar Pradesh CM that
UP is the epicenter of politics of hate, division and bigotry.
There is no remedy available for the victim and the offence is non- bailable
and punishment with imprisonment which may extend up to 10 years.
Under article 25 of Indian constitution the word ‘propagation’ is to assure
Christian minority but. Supreme court judgment in Rey. Stanislaus (1977) in
which the court held you cannot convert because ‘propagation of religion does
not extend to conversion’ in fact according to foremost India’s constitutional
expert S M SEERVAI, says this judgment is “productive of great public mischief”
and must be over-ruled and it is contrary to privacy judgment.
Particularly Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the ordinance provide the State with
policing powers over a citizen's choice of life-partner or religion. The
ordinance is against the fundamental rights to individual autonomy, privacy,
human dignity and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the
Law Article in India
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