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Religious Priests Not Giving Prior Information To District Magistrate About Conversions For Marriages: Uttarakhand High Court Orders Inquiry

first_imgTop StoriesReligious Priests Not Giving Prior Information To District Magistrate About Conversions For Marriages: Uttarakhand High Court Orders Inquiry LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK24 Nov 2020 8:26 PMShare This – xThe Uttarakhand High Court has directed the District Magistrate, Dehradun to conduct a detail inquiry about non compliance of Section 8(2) of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 which mandate Religious Priests to give prior intimation to the concerned District Magistrate, before performing conversion of a person from one religion to another.A Division Bench comprising…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Uttarakhand High Court has directed the District Magistrate, Dehradun to conduct a detail inquiry about non compliance of  Section 8(2) of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 which mandate Religious Priests to give prior intimation to the concerned District Magistrate, before performing conversion of a person from one religion to another.A Division Bench comprising Justices Alok Kumar Verma and Sudhanshu Dhulia directed thus while granting police protection to inter-religious couples in two cases. In one case, a Hindu girl had converted to Islam and in the other case, a Muslim girl had converted to Hinduism. Objecting to their plea, the State Counsel submitted (in both the cases) that there was a clear violation of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, where prior to such conversion, an application has to be moved before the concerned District Magistrate, which has presently not been done.As per Section 8(1), one who desires to convert his religion, shall give a declaration at least one month in advance, in the prescribed proforma, to the District Magistrate or the Executive Magistrate specially authorized by District Magistrate that he wishes to convert his religion on his own and at his free consent and without any force, coercion, undue influence or allurement. Sub-Section (2) provides that the religious priest, who performs purification Sanskar or conversion ceremony for converting any person of one religion to another religion, shall give one month’s advance notice of such conversion, in the prescribed proforma, to the District Magistrate or any other officer appointed for that purpose by the District Magistrate of the district where such ceremony is proposed to be performed. ‘Religious priest´ means priest of any religion who performs purification Sanskar or conversion ceremony of any religion and by whatever name he is called such as pujari, pandit, mulla, maulvi, father etc. Taking note of these provisions, the Court observed:”What is most important to note here is that in the State of Uttarakhand, there is an Act known as Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, under which it is the duty of the concerned Priest under sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 to give prior intimation to the concerned District Magistrate, before this conversion or the marriage. Evidently this has not been done. We direct the District Magistrate, Dehradun to conduct a detail inquiry into this matter, as many similar cases are repeatedly coming before us. Our intention is to inform the concerned persons about the illegalities and the legal implications in the matter, so that a prior information is given to the concerned District Magistrate, which is the mandate of law. In all similar cases, which are coming before us, we find that such intimation is not given under sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 by the concerned Priest.”The Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act was enacted in 2018 with the stated objective “to provide freedom of religion by prohibition of conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage and for the matters incidental thereto”.If any person comes back to his ” ancestral religion”, it shall not be deemed conversion under the Act, as per proviso to Section 3.As per Section 6 of the Act, marriages done for sole purpose of conversion can be declared null and void on a petition filed by either party to the marriage.Recently, the Allahabad High Court declared as bad law the judgments which had held that religious conversions only for the sake of marriage are invalid.Click here to Read/Download Order 1/Order 2Read OrdersSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more