December 24, 2021 3:16:19 am
After preparing the draft of the Karnataka Dharma Swatantrya Act, 2012, the state Law Commission sent it to the Law Department for scrutiny on September 21, 2013, a few months after the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government came to power. After clearance, the draft was supposed to come up for discussion before Cabinet in 2016. However, the then government did not take it up.
The previous draft did not consider conversion by marriage unlawful. Also, the burden of proof was on the prosecution.
The present Bill states that any marriage that has happened for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion by the man of one religion with the woman of another, either by converting himself before or after marriage or by converting the woman before or after marriage, shall be declared as null and void by the family court.
It also says the burden of proof is on the accused.
Also, the previous draft said, “Punishment for contravention of the provisional section may extend to one year imprisonment or with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both.”
In case of a woman, a person belonging to SC/ST or minor, the imprisonment was extended to two years and Rs 10,000 fine.
According to the latest Bill, punishment will be three years in jail but which may extend to five years with a fine of Rs 20,000. In case of SCs and STs, minors, or mentally-challenged persons, the imprisonment will extend up to five years and fine of Rs 50,000.
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