The Karnataka cabinet has made the decision to repeal the controversial anti-conversion law implemented by the previous BJP government. The repeal bill will be introduced during the upcoming legislative session commencing on July 3, as confirmed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil.
In a significant move, the Karnataka cabinet has unanimously approved the repeal of the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act, commonly known as the anti-conversion law.
Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil stated, “The Cabinet discussed the anti-conversion bill. We have approved the bill to repeal the changes that were brought in by them (BJP government) in 2022. It will be tabled during the session starting from July 3.”
The original anti-conversion law prescribed penalties ranging from three to five years of imprisonment and fines of Rs 25,000 for those found guilty of unlawful conversion. For offenses involving minors, women, and individuals from marginalized communities (SC/ST), the punishment extended to three to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of no less than Rs 50,000. Additionally, the law allowed for compensation of up to Rs 5 lakh to be paid by the accused to those allegedly coerced into conversion. Cases of mass conversions could result in a jail term of three to ten years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.
Furthermore, the law declared marriages performed solely for the purpose of unlawful conversion as null and void. It mandated that individuals wishing to convert must submit a declaration to the district magistrate or an authorized official at least 30 days in advance. The religious convert performing the conversion was also required to provide a 30-day notice to the district magistrate or an additional district magistrate.
The upcoming legislative session will witness the introduction of the bill to repeal the anti-conversion law.