The Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Ordinance 2020 has been challenged in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The ordinance was moved by the state government to stop so-called “love jihad”.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary of the Legislative Affairs Department and the Home Department in this regard. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 31.
Amritansh Nema, a resident of Bhopal and a law student studying at the University of Delhi, has challenged the constitutionality of the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 brought on January 9, 2020 to stop love jihad.
The petition challenges Articles 2 (1) (c), 4, 10 and 12 of the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020. In the Freedom of Religion Ordinance, it has been made mandatory to give information to the District Collector 60 days before the conversion. It is a violation of fundamental rights, alleged the petitioner.
The MP Religious Freedom Act 1968 provided that if a person was forced to convert, he could file a complaint to the police and the collector. In the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020, it has been provided that if a person commits conversion under pressure, then the concerned person as well as his parents and family can also file a complaint to the police and the Collector.
The petition states that the law can be misused in such a situation. In addition, the ordinance states that if a person returns to his original religion, that person will not be considered a convert.
The petition said that the ordinance provides for a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and fine. The petitioner himself pleaded in the case and said that the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 is a violation of the right to equality, life and religious freedom as given in the Constitution.
After the initial hearing, the High Court issued notice to the respondents. During the hearing, Advocate General Purushendra Kaurava on appeared behalf of the State Government.