The Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh passed ‘Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill, 2021’ Wednesday. The bill replaces the ordinance titled “Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance” promulgated on November 24 last year. It will be presented in the Legislative Council now and will require the consent of the governor after that to become a law. But the most difficult task of passing the bill in the assembly has been done. It was a long-standing commitment of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to bring in a law to check any kind of unlawful religious conversion. The bill mandates any religious conversion to pass through the desk of the district magistrate. Failing so, the person seeking to convert and the person under whose supervision conversion happens, risk a heavy penalty or a jail term or both. The women belonging to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe and minors have been given special preference. So, anyone trying to convert them forcibly will attract a heavier penalty and jail term. Some NGOs and individuals had approached the Supreme Court to stay the ordinance when it was promulgated in November last year. The court refused to stay the ordinance but agreed to look into its provisions. It had issued notices to the Union Government and the Uttar Pradesh Government.
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