A notice was issued to the Madhya Pradesh State Government by MP High Court which was returnable by eight weeks. Anti-religious conversion law (The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020) was challenged.
A plea filed by AmratanshNema, challenging the powers of recently announced MP Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the State Government to stop so-called love jihad was being heard by Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla.
FEATURES OF ORDINANCE
The act requires that prior approval has to be taken from the district administration for religious conversion, which is clearly against the right to privacy.
No provision mentions a prescribed time limit within which the District Magistrate will look after the receipt of declaration to acknowledge the request and this may lead to unnecessary harassment of individual.
Section 4 of the ordinance allows family members to file complaint against alleged forceful conversion which means that false complaints can be filed too.
It is within the ordinance's scope that the burden of proof can be shifted to the person who has exercised their conversion to prove that it was not forceful.
GROUNDS OF CHALLENGING
The petition challenges Articles 2 (1) (c), 4, 10 and 12 of the Ordinance. The said ordinance makes it compulsory to give information to the District Collector sixty days before the conversion, which violates fundamental rights.
It has been alleged that the provisions of the ordinance are influenced by religious intolerance and are against the provisions of the Indian Constitution. They are also transparently attacking the religious autonomy of individuals of the state.
It has been pleaded that the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 violates the right to equality, life and religious freedom as provided by the Indian Constitution.
The petitioner has also claimed that the Ordinance was moved in an autocratic manner and did not follow a proper consultative process, thus violating the 'Due Process of law' and also deliberates on how the legislative powers were abused.
In the case of AmratanshNema vs. The State Of Madhya Pradesh and Others, it was also argued that the Ordinance violates Article 25 of Constitution which gives right to convert ones religion to another by imposing discriminatory restrictions.
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