The Madhya Pradesh ‘love jihad’ ordinance was on Tuesday sent for governor Anandiben Patel’s approval after getting nod from the cabinet, making MP the second state to bring a law that deals with religious conversion for the sake of marriage.
The ‘Freedom of Religion Bill 2020’ was approved by the cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The bill has provision for up to ten-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh for those accused of converting women on the pretext of marriage.
The Chief Minister himself briefed the cabinet on the provisions in the meeting. During the last week’s cabinet meet, Chouhan had rejected the draft prepared by the Home ministry, instructing some changes into it.
The ordinance has been sent to Patel for approval, and afterwards the same will be tabled in Assembly for approval within next six months. While doing this, MP has become second state for adopting a legislation for preventing love jihad cases.
The love jihad bill has 19 provisions. The Shivraj government was to table the same in assembly for approval but decided to bring in an ordinance instead after the winter session was adjourned over Covid-19 threat.
Those found guilty of converting women with the help of threat, marriage, allurement or any other unfair mean by up to five-year jail term and upto Rs 25,000 fine. The jail term will rise to up to ten years and fine up to Rs 50,000, if the victim belongs to SC/ST categories.
Those guilty of facilitating mass conversions will also be subjected to jail term up to ten years and fine up to Rs one lakh, says the bill. Such marriages will be nullified but the children born out of such marriage will be entitled to share in father’s property and mother could also seek subsistence allowance.
Meanwhile, home minister Narottam Mishra told the media that the police are probing into the complaint of a woman who had accused her husband of marrying her while hiding his identity. He said that if the case turns out to be an instance of ‘love jihad’, first and FIR under the new law will be lodged in the matter. The minister added that such cases were coming to fore frequently and he was given a fresh complaint by a woman from Ashok Vihar in Bhopal on Tuesday.