Forced conversion: Religion a matter of faith, not logic says Raj HC while setting guidelines
It is now mandatory to inform the district collector about religious conversions, the Rajasthan High Court said in a landmark judgment. The HC also issued a 10 point guideline to check what is called forcible conversion of religion.
The court further noted that if any inter-faith marriage does not adhere to the directives, it could be struck down. The guidelines were issued by a Division Bench comprising Justices Gopal Krishna and Virendra Kumar Mathur based on a clarification sought by the Rajasthan government.
The clarification was sought regarding the legal status of religion change and inter-faith marriages following a case of a brother challenging his sister's conversion to Islam.
We are of the opinion that while protecting the fundamental right of freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, some guidelines are necessary to check forcible conversion of religion because religion is a matter of faith and not of logic, the Bench said.
The court allowed an adult person/people to convert to a religion of his or her choice with a condition that the individual should "satisfy himself/herself about niceties of conversion of religion.
Every citizen has a fundamental right of freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, but at the same time, it is the duty of every citizen to protect the feelings of other religion and not to act contrary to the provisions of Constitution," the court observed.
The court also made it mandatory for those wishing to convert to inform the district collector or sub-divisional magistrate who will, in turn, put up the information on the office notice board the same day. The Bench further said that it was mandatory for the newly converted to solemnise the marriage after one week of conversion. The DM will take appropriate action under the law on information of forced conversion, the Rajasthan High Court also said.