The phrase “Jihad” is an unofficial expression used by extremist Hindu organizations to refer to a Muslim effort to convert Hindu girls in the guise of love.
Amongst other matters, the UP Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adyadeh 2020 (prohibition of unlawful religious change), known notoriously as Love Jihad, specifies that if the “sole goal” of marriage is to change a religion of a female, it is ruled null and invalid. Uttar Pradesh’s cabinet’s legislation specifies penalty and penalty under three heads.
What does the ordinance “Love Jihad” mean?
This sense of brotherhood is, unfortunately, the most tested in India today. We see that the Uttar Pradesh Ban on the Illegal Conversion of the Ordinance of Religion 2020 is an attack on this very essential democratic value in our neighborhood.
This decree was enacted to address the perceived threat of ‘love jihad,’ the word frequently used to characterize interfaith interactions and weddings by political Hindutva leadership. It is a criminal offense that makes it a compulsion, deception, fraud, and so on that, someone converts another person.
In itself, there is nothing unreasonable. However, it breaches seriously the freedom of conscience and the basic right to practice religion granted following Article 25 and it also breaches the right to life and freedom given by Article 21.
Moreover, this ordinance is based on the presumption and possibly even on strengthening the sense of exclusion. This is arguably more disturbing. It presupposes the exclusion and ‘other’ of some categories of the Indians population and hence confirms the concept of communalism as a good purpose in itself.
To make matters worse, the feelings of dread continue and continue to thrive: some individuals are essentially taught that violation is going to draw criminal sanctions and the associated ostracism through such regulations, laws, and policies.What is it like? It structures the law and turns many established concepts of criminal law into its vast spectrum.
The burden of proof is usually imposed on the prosecution in any criminal proceeding. However, all religious conversions are alleged to be prohibited under this regulation. Today the burden of evidence (pronouncing of guilt) is to establish that the accused is not illegal.
The crime can be recognized and not recovered so that the police can arrest the accused without a warrant. The decree compels a person who wants to change to a different faith to approach the district officer who will conduct a conversion inquiry.
It’s unlawful to convert if you want to be “allocated” or “induced.” The term “allocation” is extremely widely defined. The decree covers both the sacred and the unholy. The promise of a better living and the illusion of the divine unplaced or otherwise can be an allusion to any gift, reward, easy money or financial advantage, or any of these.
It must be highlighted, appallingly, that even a modest wedding present may constitute an allegiance. Interestingly, conversion, even if forced by fraud or force, is not prohibited. Thus, if a person is volunteered, he may be arrested, but if he’s pushed back, no crime will happen.
The most troublesome is sentencing. The regular sentence shall be one- or fiveyears imprisonment, and if the victim is a juvenile, a woman, or a Scheduled Caste or Tribe member, that period shall be up to 10 years. The offender is entitled to 10 years in jail if the lady is a professor and becomes religious.Finally, an aggrieved individual, including parents and siblings, can make a complaint. There might be many persons under this net. This law can be a tremendous disaster for the people.
History & Background of the 2020 ordinance[i]
In September 2009, Love Jihad allegations initially garnered national consciousness. Initially, Love Jihad was said to be carried out in Kerala and Mangalore on the Karnataka coast. Between 2006 and 2014, the Chief Minister of Kerala reported that 2,667 young ladies converted to Islam. The promotion of the work was accused by Muslim groups such as the Indian People’s Front and the campus front. Similar activity began also in the 1990s from the Sikh Diaspora of the United Kingdom.
Some films were accused of involvement in Love Jihad in 2010, 2011, and 2014. The Sikh Council said that girls from British Sikh households in 2014 had received information that girls were victims of ‘Love Jihad.’ Some sources claim that the females have been harvested and abandoned in Pakistan by their husbands. According to an opinion article by blogger Sunny Hundal, Takht Jathedar said that “The Sikh Council has rescued some of the victims and returned them to their parents.” In the 90s, the Muslim males were pushed by an anonymous flyer to lure Sikh ladies into Islam.
Indian National Congress (2009-14)[ii]
It has been opposed by Christian organizations, such as the Christian Social Association, and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). The VHP developed the “Hindu Helpline” which, in three months, it said, replied to 1,500 calls linked to “Love Jihad” by Muslim organizations in Kerala. The controversy arose in the month of July 2010. In an endeavor to turn Kerala into a Muslim majority state, CEO V. S. Achuthanandan referred to the supposed marriage convert of non-Muslim females. Because of the Kerala probe, PFI rejected his claims, while BJP chief Mahila Morcha requested the inquiry of the NIA.The dispute reappeared in December 2011, when Bhartiya Janata Party member Mallika Prasad said the situation is unresolved.
Of the 84 Hindu females, 69 admitted to her, “they were enticed by Muslim young people who claimed love” between January and November of that year, following their recovery, and were converted to Hinduism. The Kerala Congress Party objected vehemently to the statements made by the Chief Minister that it regarded as disgusting and dangerous.
Bhartiya Janta Party (2014 – present)
The Love jihad notion was regarded by mainstream, moderate Indians as “the ludicrous conspiracy idea” The contentious BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj in September 2014 stated Muslim youngsters had been driven to love jihad at the madrasas. In June 2018, in an alleged love jihad case, Jharkhand High Court awarded a divorce in which the defendant lied about his faith and pushed the victim to convert to Islam after marriage. In January Durga Vahini, the women’s branch of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, featured the morphic image half of star Kareena Kapoor on the topic of Love jihad, covered with the magazine’s veil issue. The term “conversion of nationality by religious conversion” means “Love Jihad” in India.
Hadya Case 
Kerala High Tribunal nullified the marriage of Akhila alias Hadia, a Hindu lady converted to Shafeen Jahan. The parents of the Bride were not there and did not provide marital approval. After she disappeared from her college, her dad filed a habeas corpus case. His daughter had been converted at ISIS’s request and was afraid that she may join it. Since 2012, she said that she has followed Islam and left her home for her own will.
It appears that a decision has been made based on a great many radicalized Keralan young who join ISIS. It asked the Kerala Police Director-General to inquire into “love jihad” cases and examine forced conversion events. It further said, “There are questions that bother an inquiring mind if there are any radical organizations. However, unfortunately, in this situation, there are no answers.” The Court noticed that there was no proof that the parents of the bride were present or consenting to marriage and requested an inquiry into the marital conditions to find out if the bridal was radicalized.There was also no indication of coerced conversions. The court noted. The Supreme Court of India’s decision to annul her marriage to Shafeen in July 2017 has been appealed by Shafeen Jahan.
After he replied to her post on a matrimonial website in August 2016, she met the man. To pursue investigations on claims of a terror component, the Supreme Court authorized the National Inquiry Agency (NIA). The NIA has studied and concluded its probe in October 2018 on 11 interfaith weddings in Kerala. The annulment by Hadiya’s high court of marriage was reversed in March 2018 and it was decided that she married Hadiya freely. It permitted the NIA, nevertheless to continue with the investigations.
Legislation passed in 2020
Christian women are targeted, recruited to the Islamic State for terrorism, making them sex slaves and even murdered. According to the Church. The Social Harmony and Vigilance Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC) reported that between 2005 and 2012 there were 4,000 incidences of ‘Love Jihad.’ Many states governed by BJP including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Karnataka began to reflect on legislation to prohibit “strong conversions” through marriage, which is often known as “love jihad’s laws. On 24 November 2020, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet passed the order, which was then confirmed and signed on 28 November 2020 by State governor Anandiben Patel.The proposed legislation in Uttar Pradesh declared a marriage null and void if the main aim was “to convert the faith of a girl” and the penalties of those who violated the rule were sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Madhya Pradesh endorsed a similar anti-transformation bill in December 2020. Haryani and Karn Bangalore had been debating similar regulations as of 25 November 2020. On 28 December 2020, the bill was approved. Later the Governor signed it. The BJP pledged to abolish love jihad in the state while campaigning for the election of a Kerala Legislative Assembly in 2021.
Can the judiciary help in this situation?[iii]
Ravi Agrawal says that the order must be promptly declared and surely not enforced. In India, the high courts held their own and passed spectacular decisions which affirm the notion of individual liberty, he argues, as everything that matters in interfaith marriages. The passage of identical laws is envisaged in at least three more BJP-ruled States. We must resist the total loss of constitutionally protected freedoms. The only way to accomplish this is through the judge, Agrawal explains.
The order has taken its toll already. Large numbers of individuals are arrested. Every day, he writes, one reads stories of individual couples. The ordinance is obvious. It is a toll. It adds that the law is discriminatory and must be stopped.
Following such discriminatory legislation, the court has shown remarkable fortitude. The court contends. Even the Higher Court Himachal Pradesh concluded that 60 days notice is not compulsory under the Special Marriage Act, said Agrawath. The Supreme Court stated that there was no right to disseminate to anybody. He believes that the Stanislaus judgment is erroneous and ought to be reviewed.Neither of these instances before the Supreme Court addressed the issue of religious freedom and marriage.
The use of authority by the Supreme Court seems to have no balance, argues Ravi Agrawal. He has inexplicably not mentioned that the Citizenship Amendment Act, Article 370 and Kashmir, the election bonds, and this “love jihad” order. However, he adds, I’m still worried. This order was rejected by the Supreme Court. The Indian Chief Justice has spoken on whether falling in love is a crime, but nothing more, Agrawal said.The court appears to have little comprehension of the importance of religion in the political and cultural character of India.
Key features & it is different from Anti-conversion laws
· Marriage to change a girl’s faith, with a sentence of up to 10 years in jail, shall be deemed null and void.
· Strong religious conversion with ₹ 15,000 is punished with a 1-5-year prison term. The prison sentence is between three and ten years and the punishment is₹25,000 if a lady is a juvenile and belongs to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
· Mass transformation is punishable by 3-10-year imprisonment and Rs 50,000 in fines to the organizations that carry out it.
· If someone wishes to change their faith after marriage, two months in advance they will have to apply to the District Magistrate.
Although the anti-conversion laws have been in India since 1967, the first countries to incorporate a marriage provision were Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The Freedom of Religion Act of Uttarakhand (2018) outlaws’ conversion via wrongdoing, force, deception, excessive persuasion, coercion, altercation, or marriage. Its punishment extends from 1 to 5 years imprisonment and a fine which makes it an unlimited crime. The same law was enacted by Himachal Pradesh in 2019.
Who can convert?[iv]
Under the new rule, anybody who wants to change to other religions must give them at least two months in advance in writing to the District Magistrate. The government prepares the application format and individuals must complete the conversion application in such a manner.
Under the new rule, however, it is the obligation of everyone who undertakes to show religious conversion that it takes place with no force or deception. If a breach of this rule is uncovered, you face a prison sentence of six months to three years and a fine of Rs 10,000 at least.
Vigilante organizationsutilizedthe pretense of “love jihad” in the past to interrupt mixed marriages, harass and intimidate interfaith couples, while State authorities found no proof of such ideas. intimidating interfaith couples,the movement was also regarded by some as antifeminism because of the paternalistic views towards the choice of women in marriage and because women’s rights were supposedly used as a cover for Hindu nationalism.Days before the passing of love jihad legislation, the High Court of Allahabad ruled that, while overturning a previous case brought against a Muslim man by his Hindu wife’s parents, “the right to live with a person of his choice, regardless of their religion or freedom, was intrinsic to life and freedom.” Similarly, in 2018, the Supreme Court ordered that an interfaith marriage be revoked. In the meantime, the Uttar Pradesh special police squad stated that they were especially charged with investigating the “love jihad.” They stated they discovered no evidence of a plot.
This blog is authored by Aeshita Marwah, student of School of Law, University of Petroleum & Energy Studies.
Shafin Jahan v, Asokan KM 2017-18