The Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet in Madhya Pradesh approved the Freedom of Religion Act 2020 against the so-called practie of 'love jihad' on Saturday, making Madhya Pradesh the second state to do so after Uttar Pradesh.
In comparison, the bill okayed by the Shivraj cabinet appears to be stricter than the law that is now being enforced in Uttar Pradesh. Here is a quick comparison between the two:
Maximum penalty, imprisonment:
Madhya Pradesh: The penalty and fine under the state's proposed law shall be not less than Rs 25,000 or imprisonment up to 5 years for committing conversion, intimidation, harassment, marriage or any other fraudulent means or for attempting or conspiring.
Uttar Pradesh: The law enacted by the Yogi Adityanath government imposes a penalty of Rs 15,000 for this. There is also a provision for a maximum sentence of five years.
If crime is against minor/ST
Madhya Pradesh: If a crime is committed against a minor/Scheduled Tribe woman, there is a provision for imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000.
Uttar Pradesh: The Yogi government has made a provision of fine of Rs 25,000 for this. Provision for punishment ranges from three years to a maximum 10 years.
Madhya Pradesh: Punishment for those who 'collectively convert' against the law will not be less than 10 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
Uttar Pradesh: The law in UP imposes a penalty of Rs 50,000 for this.
Madhya Pradesh: As per the proposed law, any conversion carried out against the law will be declared null and void and the marriage will also be declared null and void. However, any child born after such marriage will be legal and will get property rights in the father's property. Such children and their mother will be able to receive maintenance from the father even after the marriage is declared null and void.
Uttar Pradesh: There is no provision for this.
In the last one month, the Uttar Pradesh Police has made more than one arrest a day since the controversial anti-conversion ordinance came into effect. Overall, the police have apprehended about 35 people so far. Nearly a dozen FIRs have been lodged since the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, was notified on November 27.
Eight arrests were made from Etah, seven from Sitapur, four from Greater Noida, three each from Shahjahanpur and Azamgarh, two each from Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor and Kannauj and one each from Bareilly and Hardoi. The first case was registered in Bareilly just a day after the legislation came into force.
(With PTI inputs)