The much debated anti-conversion law may not be a possibility. At least the Union Law Ministry holds that opinion. Off late the senior leaders of the ruling BJP and larger RSS syndicate has been pitching a demand for a strong legislation banning conversion to other religion, primarily to Christianity and Islam.
The clamour has drawn flak as well as the disapproval from the Opposition parties in and outside the Parliament.
The Home Ministry has been informed by Law Ministry that the anti-conversion issue is purely a “state subject” and the Union government has no jurisdiction for enacting any legislation in this regard, official sources said. Any such move will not only be legally untenable, it will also go against the basic tenets of the Constitution, the Law Ministry told the Home Ministry.
The Law Ministry’s opinion came after Home Ministry sought a clarification in the matter following demands by some Sangh Parivar outfits which was backed by some BJP ministers at the Centre.
In the wake of a row over forced religious conversions allegedly by some Sangh Parivar outfits, BJP leaders and some Union Ministers had said they were ready to bring an anti-conversion law even as they put the onus on the opposition parties for supporting such a move. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had questioned the practice of conversions and advocated a debate on the need for an anti-conversion law.
“There are sometimes rumours and controversies about ‘Ghar Wapsi’ and conversions. Why should there by any conversion at all? In other countries, it is the minorities which ask for anti-conversion law. Here, we are only saying that there should be an anti-conversion law. There should be debate over it. We must think on bringing an anti-conversion law. I humbly request all of you to think over it,” Singh had said at a function of state minority commissions last month.
Five states — BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, BJD-ruled Odisha and Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh — currently have anti-conversion laws to prevent forced conversion.
The laws do not ban conversion so long as it is voluntary