IS CHANGING YOUR RELIGION ILLEGAL?
Taking up two very popular example which almost everyone is familiar with—
- A.R. Rahman who is a very popular music composer, singer as well as producer who was a hindu but later on changed his religion
- Dharmendra a very popular veteran actor had also changed his religion for his second marriage.
So, coming to very basic two questions that if A.R. Rahaman belonged from Arunachal Pradesh whould this conversation of religion be so easy? And on the other hand when Dharmendra took Islam religion in 1979 for his second marriage so in today’s world can we change our religion so easily for marriage?
Anti Conversion Law:-
So, as the name suggests does it put a ban on conversion of religion? So the answer is no this law doesn’t put a ban or prevents one individual from voluntary conversion of their religion. It supports voluntary conversion, this law only puts a ban on Involuntary or rather forced conversions of religion.
So, basically this law punishes the ones who forces one to change their religion or prevents one from following a particular religion.
These anti-conversion law has been present even before the pre-independence era, which were specially introduced by the hindu princely states, and after the independence these laws were made but were not successful. So, all the anti conversion laws that were present in the society were present speciall so that there could be no hindu conversion in the society, i.e. no hindu could change their religion.
In India during the british rule between 1930-40 the princely states to stop the religious conversion adopted certain laws and these laws were bought so that the identity of the hindus could be prevented even during the british missionaries.
In India already there are eight states where anti conversion law has already been implemented namely-Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and now very recently UP will also implement these law.
But we think that why these anti conversion law is not in function all over India?- It’s because law making power about the Anti-conversion Law is just with the State government. So, if we talk about the present situation the central government has supported the anti conversion law and has also said to bring the law in the National level, but there is a big question that —-
If Anti-Conversion law is implemented at the National level then will it not be violative of secularism in India?
So what are the problems regarding the Anti-conversion law and the disadvantages of the same?
So, there is an allegation that this law specifically targets Christianity it’s specially prevents hindu individual from taking up Christianity as their religion. In 1980 also this law was considered to be against the muslim community.This law is in the threat of being abused by communal forces.
The First state to implement anti conversion law was Odisha in 1967.
Important Incidents on Anti-Conversion Law:-
- Rev Stanislaus Vs. Madhya Pradesh – Article 25 of the constitution of India says about the freedom of religion which gives the freedom to the Indian Citizens to propagate any religion of their choice but the Supreme court also mentioned in this case that right to propagate necessarily doesn’t include the right to conversion of any religion so there has to be valid reasons for conversion.
- Sarla Mudgal Vs. UOI. – Where the court clearly mentioned that if a hindu man on the sole motive of marrying more than one person converts his religion then such conversion will not be valid, and this was because that person has no faith in the religion just to practice polygamy he’s interested in the conversion which inturn makes the conversion invalid.
Every individual has the right to convert his religion but this conversion will not be valid without faith. United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has also said this right of religious conversion to be an human right. So, anti- conversion law doesn’t violate the basic human right.
So, in the first question of A.R. Rahaman he could have easily made the following conversion in Arunachal Pradesh also as there was faith and the conversion was voluntary, but in my next question regarding Dharmendra the conversion wouldn’t be valid as without faith and just to exercise polygamy the conversion is not valid.
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