Of late I have taken an interest in the anti-conversion laws in India. They seem to be unconstitutional and also seem to be violating many human freedoms. It is hard for me to believe that such laws exist – but exist they do in India. Anyway, I have been doing a little research on them on the side. Here are some notes.
The following excerpt is from: India’s Constitution and Individual Rights: Diverse Perspectives by Abhishek Singhvi*
It is from The George Washington International Law Review, 4-November-10, volume 49, pg. 334
* Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Member of Parliament; Former Additional Solicitor General of India; National Spokesperson, CongressParty; Chairman, Law & Human Rights Department, Congress; Former Vice President, Supreme Court Bar Association. Ph.D. 1986, CANTAB–Trinity College; M.A. 1981, CANTAB–Trinity College; B.A. 1979, St. Stephen College, Delhi University.
The trinity of words—”profess,” “practice,” and “propagate”— reflects one of the most comprehensive constitutional declarations upholding freedom of religion. Each word has a different core and a different context, but the problem is more of implementation than of constitutional ideal. While the right to hold and express religious beliefs is well-established, the right to practice connotes the freedom to enjoy and realize those beliefs. Propagation is the right to communicate beliefs or to expound the tenets of one’s religion without any forcible conversion. The issue of where propagation ends and forcible conversion begins remains a vexed one in real operational terms. The operational management of this dilemma has been left to individual states. While some have passed anti-conversion statutes, many others have not. The issue is less one of constitutional interpretation and more one of political rhetoric. As such, the state laws rarely have been successfully implemented to secure conviction for forcible conversions.
~~~> My comment as to the last sentence: Unfortunately these state laws have been successfully implemented to secure convictions of people falsely charged with forcible conversions.
Aside: The latest George Washington International Law Review has an article titled: Ending Caste Discrimination in India: Human Rights and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Individuals and Groups from Discrimination at the Domestic and International Levels. It is written by Jeremy Sarkin and Mark Koenig.