Uttar Pradesh’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021

GS-3 Mains : Polity 
Short Notes or Revision Notes 


Question : Analyze the key provisions of Uttar Pradesh’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, and assess its implications for religious freedom and social harmony in the state.


  • Allahabad High Court refused to quash an FIR against a Muslim man in an interfaith live-in relationship.
  • Cited Uttar Pradesh’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.

Key Provisions:

  • Definition of Illegal Conversion:
    • Prohibits religious conversion using misrepresentation, force, coercion, undue influence, or allurement.
    • Includes conversion by solemnization of marriage or relationship.
  • Lodging of FIR:
    • Section 4 allows any aggrieved person or their relatives to lodge an FIR for illegal conversion.
  • Punishment:
    • Imprisonment of 1-5 years and a fine of Rs. 15,000 for standard cases.
    • Increased punishment for victims who are women, minors, or belong to Scheduled Castes/Tribes.
    • Mass conversions attract 3-10 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 50,000.
  • Conversion Process:
    • Requires two declarations submitted to the District Magistrate.
    • First declaration asserts voluntary conversion without coercion.
    • Second declaration includes personal details and conversion ceremony specifics.
    • Magistrate conducts a police inquiry to ascertain the “real intention” of conversion.
    • Copies of declarations are posted for public objections.

Arguments in Favour:

  • Prevention of Forced Conversions:
    • Act aims to prevent coerced conversions exploiting vulnerable individuals.
  • Preservation of Social Harmony:
    • Regulating conversions maintains social harmony between religious communities.
  • Deterrence Against Conversion Rackets:
    • Serves as a deterrent against fraudulent religious organizations.
  • Promotion of Religious Freedom with Responsibility:
    • Balances religious freedom with ethical and transparent conversion practices.
  • Backing from Public Opinion:
    • Reflects concerns of a significant portion of Uttar Pradesh’s population.

Arguments Against:

  • Constitutional Concerns:
    • Violates fundamental rights like freedom of religion and privacy.
  • Ambiguity in Definitions:
    • Vague terms like “coercion” and “allurement” lead to arbitrary interpretation.
  • Impact on Interfaith Relationships:
    • Could be misused to target interfaith couples, especially Hindu-Muslim relationships.
  • Burden of Proof:
    • Places burden of proof on accused to demonstrate conversion legality.
  • Social Polarization:
    • Risks exacerbating communal tensions and polarizing communities.

Way Ahead:

  • Legal Defense:
    • Uttar Pradesh government defends the law as necessary for preventing forced conversions.
  • Judicial Interpretation:
    • Resolution may depend on judicial interpretation and potential amendments.


  • The Act’s contentious nature reflects the ongoing debate between protecting religious freedom and preventing coerced conversions.
  • Balancing these interests requires careful consideration of constitutional principles and societal harmony.



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