Can be misused against person in “stronger” position: Muslim outfit opposes Unlawful religious conversion laws

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The plea states that the laws enacted for the prohibition of unlawful religious conversion can be used to prosecute any person who is in a stronger position vis-a-vis the converted person.


Jamiata Ulama-I-Hind has moved the Supreme Court against the laws promulgated for the prohibition of “love jihad” and other modes of unlawful religious conversion.

The laws were made to keep a check on the mischief of religious conversion by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any other fraudulent means.

The plea states that the said laws force a person to disclose his faith and thereby invade into the privacy of a person. It submits that the compulsory disclosure of one’s religion in any form amounts to violation of the right to manifest his/her beliefs as the said right includes the right not to manifest one’s beliefs.

In view of the issue of love jihad, the plea submits that several times in cases of interfaith marriages, a person converts to embrace the faith of their spouse. Interfaith couples often bear the brunt of being ostracized from the community, so much so that the families engage in the crime of “honour killing”, thereby murdering their very own kith and kin, who have dared to marry outside their faith, the plea reads.

Relying on the above, the plea submits that "in majority of cases, even if a person converts out of his/her own free will, the family members of the convert object to such conversion. The provisions of the Impugned Acts which entitle the family members to lodge an FIR, virtually give them a fresh tool for harassing the convert. It is submitted that the Impugned Acts are being misused by the disgruntled family members."

The plea has sought direction to set aside the impugned laws for defining ‘allurement’ to include undue influence. It has been alleged that the phrase ‘undue influence’ is too wide and vague and the same can be used to prosecute any person who is in a stronger position vis-a-vis the converted person.

It may be noted that the petition has been filed against the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Act, 2021, the Uttarakhand Freedom Of Religion Act, 2018, the Himachal Pradesh Freedom Of Religion Act, 2019, the Madhya Pradesh Freedom Of Religion Act, 2021 and the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021.