Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu gave her assent to the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017. The state government will now issue notification on the Religious Freedom Bill, after which it will become an Act. With this Jharkhand, become seventh state in the country to have anti-conversion law. Other six states with similar law are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017
The Bill seeks to bring stringent anti-conversion law in place under which forceful or allurement induced religious conversion will be non-bailable criminal offence. It defines allurement for religious conversion and also includes religious conversion based on cash or economic benefits under the definition.
The Section 3 of Bill prohibits forceful conversion. The violation of this section will result in punishment upto 3 years imprisonment or Rs 50000 penalty or both. If the religious conversion crime involves a minor, woman or person from S ST community than prison term would be up to 4 years and a penalty of Rs.1 lakh.
The state assembly had passed this law inorder to prevent rampant religious conversions taking place in state. It was found that most of the religious conversions cases in the state were predominantly in tribal and backward communities lured by money or other benefits.