Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has approved 'MP Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020' in a special Cabinet meeting today chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The new law will invite 2-10 years' imprisonment for forced conversion of a minor or a woman from a lower caste.

Addressing the media, Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that in case of forced conversion of a minor, the jail term will be between two to ten years with a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000.

“Under the new MP Freedom of Religion Bill 2020, forced conversion of a minor, woman or a person from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, would draw a minimum jail term of 2-10 years with a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000,” Mishra said.

Mishra further said, “Under new Bill, forcing religious conversion on someone will attract 1-5 years of imprisonment and a minimum Rs 25,000 fine.”

MP has become the third BJP-ruled state to clear anti-love jihad law after Yogi Adityanath's Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

However, unlike the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, under the MP law, a person converting of his own free will does not have to report it to the district magistrate. In case a person approaches a priest for such a conversion though, the priest concerned has to inform the district administration.

Under the new MP Bill, a family court in the state will be empowered to declare marriages conducted for the purpose of religious conversion null and void. The alimony in such cases would be granted as per Section 125 of the CrPC.