The Rajasthan High Court on Friday issued guidelines to check the alleged forcible religious conversion in the state, Hindustan Times reported.
The court said that anyone who wishes to convert in Rajasthan shall provide the information “to the district collector or the sub-divisional magistrate or the sub-divisional office of the city and sub-divisional area” before conversion. The government authority will then put it up on a notice board, and the marriage can be solemnised only a week after the conversion.
Violation of the guidelines would mean an inter-faith marriage is void if someone files a complaint against it. “Some guidelines are necessary to check the forcible conversion of religion because religion is a matter of faith and not of logic,” a bench of justices Gopal Krishna Vyas and Virendra Kumar Mathur said.
The guidelines empower a district magistrate to take appropriate action in cases of forcible conversion. The court said the guidelines would remain operative till the Rajasthan Religious Freedom Bill Act of 2006, which is awaiting the President’s assent, or any other act governing the subject, is enacted.
“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 bench said.
The court also said that the person who is conducting someone’s conversion from one faith to the other must ensure they are “desirous to change the religion, is having full faith in the newly adopted religion” and should also check if he or she is under any threat from someone.
The High Court issued the guidelines while disposing a plea by a Hindu girl’s family claiming that she had been forced to convert to Islam.