The Gujarat government has decided to implement the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which invites stringent punishment for forcible religious conversion through marriage, from June 15, an official said on Friday. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has taken a decision to implement the Bill, which will become an Act from June 15, an official of the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The Bill was passed by the state legislative Assembly on April 1 by majority vote, and it was approved by Gujarat governor Acharya Devvrat in May. According to the government, the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill seeks to curb the “emerging trend in which women are lured to marriage for the purpose of religious conversion".
The bill amended a 2003 law, which penalises religious conversion through coercion or allurement. As per the amendment, forcible “conversion by marriage, or by getting a person married, or by aiding a person to get married" shall invite imprisonment of three to five years and up to Rs 2 lakh fine.
If the victim is a minor, a woman, a Dalit or tribal, then the offenders may be punished for a jail term of four to seven years and a fined no less than Rs 3 lakh.