[Editorial Analysis] A regressive agenda, a new law in governance

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020
Mains level: Role of women in Indian society


• Recently the state of Uttar Pradesh gives an ordinance namely, Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. This ordinance not only violates fundamental rights but also conflict with personal laws.

Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance:

• The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 was approved and signed by state governor of U P. according to this law if the conversion was undertaken unlawfully then it will be non – a bailable offence with up to 10 years of jail term.

• And another provision is that if any religious conversion requires for marriage in the state, for this, approval of district magistrate is mandatory.

Reason for this ordinance:

• Recently a judgement by Allahabad high court in Priyanshi @ Km. Shamren and others v. State of U P and Another 2020, here when a prayer for police protection by a woman who had converted from Islam to Hinduism was refused, the high court observed that conversion as for marriage is unacceptable.

• After some time, the superior bench of the same high court declared this to be bad law.

• In another case, namely Salamat Ansari And 3 Others vs state of U P And 3 Others 2020, the Allahabad high court held that ‘ neither any individual nor a family nor even the state can have any objection to the relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together.

Problem with this case and ordinance:

• High Court observations and Ordinance is violating the right to live and personal liberty which is held in article 21.

About article 21:

• Article 21, embodies the right to life and liberty. In this article, there are two rights included-

1. Right to life
2. Right to personal liberty
In right to life article, life is mentioned as not merely living or the physical act of breathing. It has a more wide meaning. In this article following rights are included-
1. Right to live with human dignity
2. Right to livelihood
3. Right to health
4. Right to pollution-free air
5. Right to live a quality life
6. Right to go abroad
7. Right to privacy
8. Right against solidatry confinement
9. Right against delayed execution
10. Right to shelter
11. Right against custodian death
12. Right against public hangin

History of social reforms regarding castes in India:

• Babasaheb Ambedkar and Periyar E V Ramaswamy give support to intermarriage as much as they did on inter dining

• B.R. Ambedkar argues that inter-dining had not been successful in killing the spirit of caste and that the “real remedy is intermarriage”.

• Women Enslaved (book of Periyar) translated by G Aloysius, he argues that no third person has any right to constrain or decide the coming together of two people.

• So Periyar gives support to provide and protect the agency of women in making life choices to achieve a liberal society.

• The Self Respect Conference held in Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, in 1929 passed resolutions which allow women to remarry and file for divorce.

• Periyar explains marriage as “life partnership agreements” wherein the two partners would come together on equal terms.

• After these all work by social reformers, in 1967, the Tamil Nadu government amended the marriage law, with allowing self respect marriages within the Hindu marriage act.

Current situation of inter caste marriage in India:

• In India, there is less than 5 per cent of Indians who have inter-caste marriages, less than 3 per cent have interfaith marriages.

• In 2017, the high court of Kerala cautioned against the use of term love jihad.

• Hadiya case of 2018 (Shafin Jahan v. Ashok KM), the supreme court held that “The strength of the Constitution lies in the guarantee which it affords that each individual will have a protected entitlement in determining a choice of partner to share intimacies within or outside marriage” and here supreme court emphasized that the “right to marry a person of one’s choice” is integral to Article 21.

Controversial provisions of the ordinance:

• Section 12 of the ordinance, provide the burden of proof onto the person who has converted to prove that there was no force and fraud involved.
• Section 6 of the ordinance, provides that Any conversion for marriage can be declared void.

• Section 3 of the ordinance, declared the scope of which the aggrieved person may complain about any conversion of religion is expansive to include parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage or adoption.


• As a concluding line, we can say that although the government before making this law, was fearful for the Hindu girls, yet it has to understand the rights of women as a citizen of India.

• On other hand, we can say that in the ordinance, there is the provision of jail term when marriage considers as fraud and only for conversion.

• Every person of the state is free for inter-caste marriage, only one approval from district magistrate is mandatory only when there is conversion.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020), consider the following statements:

1. The summit is organised by the Ministry of Power.

2. The theme for RE-Invest 2020 is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Do you think Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance defying the Article 21 of Indian Constitution?

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