The contentious anti-conversion Bill was cleared by the Karnataka Cabinet on Monday, December 20, and it is most likely to be tabled in the legislative Assembly on December 21, official sources said. "The Cabinet that met today under the leadership of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has cleared the proposed anti-conversion Bill, it is likely to be introduced in the Assembly tomorrow," official sources aware of the developments said. There was no official briefing of the cabinet meeting's decisions as the winter session of the state legislature is on.
The proposed bill that is being opposed by opposition parties and Christian community leaders is said to have penal provisions, and may also insist that the persons who wish to convert to another faith file an application before the Deputy Commissioner two months prior. Also, the person who wishes to convert is likely to lose the religion of his or her origin and facilities or benefits attached with it, including reservations; however, one is likely to receive the benefits entitled to, in the religion he or she converts to, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had earlier said.
According to sources, the proposed 'Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021', prohibits conversion from one religion to another by misinterpretation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage. It is also said to propose for an imprisonment from three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000, while for violation of provisions with respect to minors, women, SC/ST will face imprisonment from three to ten years and a fine of not less than Rs 50,000.
Read: 10 yr jail, lengthy process to change religion: Karnataka‚Äôs draft anti-conversion Bill
The proposed Bill is also said to have made a provision for the accused to pay up to Rs five lakh as compensation to those who were made to convert. With regards to cases of 'mass conversion' the bill proposes 3-10 years jail term and a fine of up to Rs one lakh.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah has already said that Congress party will not allow BJP government to pass anti-conversion Bill in Assembly, and JD(S) has also said that it is opposed to the Bill. With opposition from both opposition parties, it remains to be seen as how the Bill gets passed in the legislative council, where the ruling BJP lacks majority.
Also read: Karnataka‚Äôs new anti-conversion Bill has parts that Gujarat HC said violates rights