The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet recently declared a draft ordinance to check “unlawful religious conversions” and “inter-faith marriages with the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion”, with a provision for a jail term of up to 10 years. Subsequently today UP Police has registered its first case under this law in Bareilly district based on a complaint from the father of a young woman.
The case was registered against a 22-year-old college student at Deorania police station in Bareilly district on Saturday.
As per the agency report, the boy name Owais had been forcing a 20-year-old interfaith married girl to change her religion and start living with him. He was regularly visiting her house and threatening her family members with dire consequences.
Since this law deals with different categories of offenses, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.
Moreover, this law states that the ordinance mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.
Therefore Police have booked him under section 3/5 of the prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Act along with sections 504 (breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
While campaigning for by-polls, CM Yogi Adityanath had declared that his government will bring a law that would prevent forceful conversion for marriage. The new act came into existence after the UP cabinet cleared the ordinance on November 24 and Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the law on November 28. It is a non-bailable offence and the accused may have to face imprisonment of one year to 10 years with a cash fine between 15,000 to 50,000.