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States & UTs

Uttarakhand Assembly Passes Strict Anti-Conversion Bill

The Hawk
December1/ 2022

Uttarakhand CM

Dehradun: Two important Bills were passed by voice vote in the Uttarakhand Assembly on the second day of the supplementary budget session on Thursday. A strict law regarding religious conversions in the state is now in place after the passage of the Uttarakhand Religion Freedom (Amendment) Bill 2022.

Apart from this, the Uttarakhand Public Service (Horizontal Reservation for Women) Bill 2022 will once again implement the system of 30 per cent horizontal reservation for women in the state, which is considered a big achievement of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami's government.

A few days ago, the state government also approved both bills from the Cabinet. With the passage of these Bills in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday, a notification for their implementation in the state will be issued soon. "Uttarakhand is the land of Gods, where things like religious conversion are very dangerous for us, so the government had decided to enact the strictest laws for religious conversion in the state," Dhami said.

He said that it is the endeavour of the state government to implement this law in the state at the earliest.

"Mother power has a huge contribution in the construction of Uttarakhand and the government had already decided that respecting the mother power in this state with adverse geographical conditions, they should be given this horizontal reservation get benefits," he said while speaking about the Horizontal Reservation Bill for women in Uttarakhand.

The Chief Minister said that the State Government had also filed an SLP in the Supreme Court in this regard.

Under the Uttarakhand Public Service (Horizontal Reservation for Women) Bill 2022, 20 to 30 per cent horizontal reservation was arranged for women in government services in the state. This provision is being made for those women. During the formation of the state, the then government had introduced a 20 per cent horizontal reservation. In July 2006, it was reduced to 30 per cent.

In the same year, Pavitra Chauhan of Haryana and women from other states filed a petition in the High Court when they did not get the benefit of horizontal reservation.

The High Court had stayed the reservation, against which the state government filed an SLP in the Supreme Court. On November 4, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the reservation by staying the order of the High Court. Now the government has passed this bill in the house and given it a legal form, which is being seen as a big achievement of the present government.

The new conversion law required amendments to the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 to equally strengthen the importance of each religion, under Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28 of the Constitution of India, under the right to freedom of religion.

After the enactment of this act, a provision has been made for imprisonment ranging from a minimum of three years to maximum 10 years if found guilty. Not only this, the person who commits the crime may have to pay a fine of at least five lakh rupees, which will be given to the victim. According to the Bill, no person shall attempt to convert another person from one religion to another, either directly or indirectly by force, inducement or fraudulent means. No person shall abet or conspire to convert such. —ANI