Uttar Pradesh ordinance criminalising religious conversion by marriage is an assault on personal liberty.
The ordinance brought by the Uttar Pradesh govt following the statements of the chief minister Yogi Adityanath about the conspiracy theories regarding “love jihad” is immoral as well as a violation of constitution.
The ordinance titled Uttar Pradesh prohibition of unlawful conversion of religion ordinance, 2020 states that every religious conversion to be scrutinised and certified by the state itself. The concept of forcing an individual to explain and justify a decision, which is a personal liberty to her, before an officer of the state is contrary to constitutionalism.
There are limitations of power on state and burdens as well to explain and justify the decisions taken by it which would eventually affect the rights and lives of citizens.
There are many troublesome aspects in the ordinance which treats every religious conversion as unlawful unless certified by the state. Section 3 of the ordinance prohibits one person from converting the religion of another person by marriage. I’m simpler words, it means that religious conversion by marriage is made unlawful. Anyone who would violate this provision is punishable with imprisonment for a term which is not less than one year but which may extend up to 5 years and a fine of minimum fifteen thousand. If a person converted happens to be a woman, then the punishment is double the normal punishable term and fine. The offence is cognizable and non bailable. These provisions giving state policing Powers over a citizen’s choice of life partner or religion militate against the fundamental rights to individual autonomy, privacy, human dignity guaranteed under article 21 of the Indian constitution. Through this law, it will bring a sense of criminality over every inter-faith marriages. Thus, the law will lead to a grossly disproportionate result by terrorising inter faith couples and by deterring such marriages.