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Complainant eager, MP HC refuses to quash proceedings in religious conversion case

New Delhi: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings against a man who was accused of inducing religious conversion through financial allure in 2017.

Justice Rajendra Kumar Srivastava passed the order, even after the original complainant, Dharmendra Dohar, said that he had no objection to the complaint being quashed.

The court said:

“Complainant Dharmendra Dohar has no objection in quashing the proceeding, but looking to the fact that the offence is relating to religion and significant to maintaining public tranquility, the Adhiniyam, 1968 [Section 3/4 of the M.P. Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968] clearly provides for the maintenance of public order, hence, under inherent jurisdiction, I do not think fit to give it overemphasized. Therefore, considering the allegations made in the FIR as well as 161 Statements, I am not inclined to quash the proceeding in respect of offence under Section 3/4 of Adhiniyam, 1968.”

According to case, on the basis of complaint filed by Dharmendra Dohar, the police has registered the FIR stating that some preachers of Christian community were alluring and inspiring the complainant by providing money to cause him to convert into their religion. Resultantly, he and one Nagendra Chaudhary have converted themselves into their religion. The complainant further stated that they were five people present at the spot at the time of conversion and the applicant was one of them. The police has seized some cross sign and book of the Bible from the possession of complainant

Counsel for the applicant, M.J. Michael, submitted to the court that applicant, George Mangalapilly, was charged under Section 153-B(1) and 295-A of Indian Penal Code as well as Section 3/4 of the M.P. Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968 on the basis of complaint filed by one Dharmendra Dohar. The FIR stated that some preachers of Christian community were alluring and inspiring the complainant by providing money to cause him to convert into their religion in 2017.

Ajay Tamrakar, Prosecutor from the state, stated that Section 3 of Adhiniyam, 1968 restricts the person to convert or attempt to convert any person from one religious to another directly or indirectly religious by way of allurement or force. That the accused was alluring him to cause him to convert into their religion and the complainant along with his friend converted themselves into their religion. 

Here in the case, admittedly, the trial is going on and some of the witnesses have been examined by the trial Court. Learned counsel for the applicant raised the ground of hostility of the complainant before the trial Court but same can be appreciated in trial, and at this stage same can not be looked into, said the Court.

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The High court allowing the petition partly, quashed criminal proceeding in respect of offence under section 153-B(1) and 295-A of IPC, as the JMFC has exceeded its jurisdiction while taking cognizance in the case under Section 153-B(1) and 295-A of IPC. 

Read the order here;

MCRC_20085_2020_FinalOrder_27-Aug-2020

-India Legal Bureau

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