Raj to HC: ’08 conversion bill pending with Centre
The habeas corpus alleged that one Payal Singhvi aka Aarifa Modi was forcefully converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man
TIMES Jodhpur/Jaipur: The Rajasthan high court on Tuesday directed the state government to appraise it by November 27 the status of the Rajasthan Freedom of Religion Bill, 2008, which has been sent to the Centre for approval. The bill, passed by the Rajasthan assembly in 2008, aims at checking forceful religious conversions.
Adivision bench of justice G K Vyas and justice Manoj Kumar Garg that was hearing a habeas corpus petition gave the direction after additional advocate general S K Vyas informed court that the state had initiated the process of making a law on religious conversions but the bill was pending before the Government of India.
The habeas corpus was filed by one Chirag Singhvi, who alleged that his sister Payal Singhvi aka Aarifa Modi was forcefully converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man. Chirag even alleged that his sister’s marriage was a “love jihad” case. Payal aka Aarifa, however, disputed the charge in court, which allowed her to go back to her husband Faiz Modi.
During an earlier hearing of the case, the bench had expressed surprise if religious conversions could be recognised on the basis of an affidavit on a stamp paper of Rs 10. It had asked the government to tell if there was any law in the state to govern procedures for religious conversions.
Responding to the court’s query regarding the existence of a law, if any, the state government on Tuesday pointed out about the 2008 bill that is pending the President’s approval.
In its reply, the government stated the draft of law governing religious conversions was considered by state cabinet and after approval was passed by the assembly in 2008. The bill was sent to the governor, who sent for the President’s assent.