Bill to ban compulsory conversion

NEW DELHI, JULY 27. A Bill by the Shiv Sena member, Mr. Anant Gangaram Geete, for banning compulsory religious conversions was introduced in the Lok Sabha today after the Presiding Officer Mr. D.P. Yadav, turned down objections that the legislation violated the Constitution.

A lengthy wrangle preceded the introduction, during which the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr. Pramod Mahajan, sought to argue that the Bill in fact supported Article 25 of the Constitution and only referred to compulsory conversions. Mr. Yadav, in his ruling, said notice had been received in advance objecting to the Bill.

Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress) raised the objection, pointing out that the Bill also sought to declare certain normal conversions as coercive. In a point of order, the Muslim League member, Mr. G.M. Banatawala said the rules were clear that no bill violative of the Constitution can be permitted to be introduced.

Mr. Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and Mr. Bansal (both Congress), Mr. Banatawala, Mr. Ramdas Athawale (RPI) and others said there were ample penal laws under the Indian Penal Code and other laws to deal with compulsory conversions and therefore this Bill was not necessary.

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Referred by:Benjamin Paul
Published on: July 27, 2001
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