The Madhya Pradesh advocate-general's office said on Friday that the high court has issued a notice to the state government while hearing a petition against the anti-religious conversion law.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Amratansh Nema, a student from Bhopal, Hindustan Times reported. The PIL said that that provisions of the ordinance are a "grave violation of constitutional provisions and a blatant attack on the religious autonomy of individuals”.
Purushaindra Kaurav, the state advocate general sought time for instructions and for filing a counter-affidavit on behalf of the government. The bench comprising chief justice Mohammad Rafiq and judge Vijay Kumar Shukla gave the government eight weeks to submit its reply.
The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, provides for ten years in jail in some cases. It has several provisions that are similar to the ordinance issued by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh against fraudulent conversions. Any marriage solemnized in violation of this law will also be considered null and void.
There is a provision of three to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 in cases of marriage carried out by hiding religion. In cases involving religious conversion of members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minors, a provision has been made for imprisonment of two to 10 years and Rs 50,000 fine. The parents, legal guardian or custodian and brothers and sisters of the converted person can lodge a complaint in this regard.
Those willing to convert will need to apply to the district administration 60 days in advance. The victim women will be entitled to get maintenance under the law. The children born out of such marriages would be entitled to inherit the fathers properties.