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Evaluating India’s New Anti-Conversion Laws | Manish

In Evaluating India’s New Anti-Conversion Laws, Manish discusses the constitutionality of legislations enacted to prohibit forcible religious conversions in India in light of the newly developed privacy jurisprudence. The author discusses anti-conversion enactments pre-2000 and critiques the Supreme Court’s judgment in Stainislaus, which upheld the validity of the anti-conversion legislation in question for its poorly-reasoned application of the public order exception to restrict the right to “propagate” religion, its vagueness and failure to engage with questions of morality or freedom of speech. The author argues that anti-conversion enactments post-2000 place an additional substantive burden on individuals in cases of conversion and puts them under surveillance. Provisions in the newer set of laws regarding prior notice for conversion, initiation of proceedings by persons other than the convert, reconversion exception and rendering marriage voidable in case of forced conversion are criticised for their violation of fundamental rights, primarily on the basis of the right to privacy. Taking note of the Himachal Pradesh High Court decision in Evangelical Fellowship, it is argued that the change in privacy jurisprudence would render these newer set of laws unconstitutional.

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CALJ 6(2) _ Evaluating India's Anti-Conversion Laws _ Manish
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