Every human being has a natural entitlement of religious faith and freedom of conscience and right to adopt or abandon any faith of his own choice. This being so , the freedom of conscience has been recognized as a basic human right both constitutionally and conventionally. The Constitution of India aims at securing freedom of religion and freedom of conscience under Article 25 ,26,27,28,30 and at the same time it seeks to create a harmony among all religions. Being suitable to the pluralistic society and historical lineage . Such freedom needs to continued. Any other policy will not be unconstitutional but also extremely harmful and suffocative for the public. It. However, need to be realized that an incessant process of transformation and change is also going on as change is the rule of nature. The ideas , faith, psyche, behavior and attitude of people have always been subject to change, though, the factors of change are spatial and temporal. An important aspect with respect to change of faith is the state of One’s awareness and ignorance. More awareness and enlightenment does definitely have an impact on the thought, belief and action of a person, faith and elements of conscience. Thus as regards conscience , state of knowledge is itself under a constant process of change and every human being is undergoing a metamorphosis of understanding with continuing with continuing process of experience of life and learning . Therefore , it is advisable to tie up someone to a particular faith for all the times.
But in Indian perspective , an aspect of freedom of conscience which has attained a problematic dimension , is the right to propagate faith. The meaning of propagation is to promote , spread and publicize one’s relating to his own faith for the edification of others. The term propagation implies persuasion and exposition without any element of fraud, coercion and allurement. The right to propagate one’s religion does not give a right to convert any other person to one’s own religious faith. It may be pointed out that the right to convert other person to one’s own religion is distinct from and individual right to get convert to any other religion on his own choice. The later is undisputedly is in conformity with the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience under Article 25 of the constitution while the former is the subject of long prevailing controversy with reference to propagation of faith.
The legislative history relating to the issue of conversion in India underscores the point that the authorities concerned were never favorably disposed towards conversion. While British India had no anti-conversion laws, many Princely States enacted anti-conversion legislation: the Raigarh State Conversion Act 1936, the Patna Freedom of Religion Act of 1942, the Sarguja State Apostasy Act 1945 and the Udaipur State Anti-Conversion Act 1946. Similar laws were enacted in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Kalahandi and Kota and many more were specifically against conversion to Christianity. In the post-independence era, Parliament took up for consideration in 1954 the Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill and later in 1960 the Backward Communities (Religious Protection) Bill, both of which had to be dropped for lack of support. The proposed Freedom of Religion Bill of 1979 was opposed by the Minorities Commission due to the Bill's evident bias.
However, in 1967-68, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh enacted local laws called the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 and the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantraya Adhiniyam 1968. Along similar lines, the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1978 was enacted to provide for prohibition of conversion from one religious faith to any other by use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means and for matters connected therewith. The latest addition to this was the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Ordinance promulgated by the Governor on October 5, 2002 and subsequently adopted by the State Assembly. Each of these Acts provides definitions of `Government', `conversion', `indigenous faith', `force', `fraud', `inducement' (and in the case of Arunachal, that of `prescribed and religious faith'). These laws made forced conversion a cognizable offence under sections 295 A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code that stipulate that malice and deliberate intention to hurt the sentiments of others is a penal offence punishable by varying durations of imprisonment and fines.
From the above discussion that any protest against religious conversion is always branded as persecution, because it is maintained that people are not allowed to practice their religion, that their religious freedom is curbed. The truth is entirely different. The other person also has the freedom to practice his or her religion without interference. That is his/her birthright. Religious freedom does not extent to having a planned programme of conversion. Such a programme is to be construed as aggression against the religious freedom of others.