Karnataka Assembly. PC: PTI

After the BJP government of Karnataka failed to pass an Anti- conversion bill during the recently concluded winter session due to lack of majority in Upper House, the government is now mulling to get it cleared through ordinance.

“ Since the government could not pass the bill, we will have to clear it through ordinance”, declared Social Welfare Minister, Kota Srinivas Pujari. He claimed that the Act applies to all religions therefore everyone should welcome it. It is inappropriate to oppose it.

Pujari alleged that those who are opposing it, are only for some political gains. “ But the fact is that, mentally, they too like the Act and welcome it”, he said without referring to Congress which is sternly opposing the Bill.

It may be noted that the BJP government could not clear the bill in the session as the government did not have majority in the Council.

As per the rule, the government has to get any Bill cleared in both houses within six months of its tabling. After which, the bill goes to the Governor for approval. Only then, it becomes a law.

Now, while the Minister Pujari is hinting at getting it cleared through ordinance, some reports suggest that the government will get it cleared in January.

Freedom of Religion Bill is an Instrument of Hindu Rashtra

The government is expected to get a majority in the Vidhan Parishad in January after the end of tenure of many MLCs of the opposition parties. At that time, the government is thinking to re-table the bill in the council and getting it cleared.

The Vidhan Sabha(legislative assembly) has already given its approval in the winter session itself as the BJP government enjoys majority.

It was earlier reported that the government was aware that it might not get support of JD(S) MLCs in the council. The government, which does not wish to take a chance, decided to wait till January when it is going to get a clear majority in the Council.

Other reports suggest that the government is not in a mood to wait till the next session to be held either in January or February 2022. Instead, it wishes to take Cabinet approval and pass the Bill through the ordinance.

The announcement of Minister Pujari is in a way, giving strength to such speculations.

Interestingly, not just the opposition, but some leaders of the BJP too have opposed the Act. One of them is MLC, A. H. Vishwanath.

The Congress along with several organizations has expressed reservation to the Bill. They have been openly opposing the bill inside and outside Vidhana Soudha. Calling it anti-people, the Congress has been saying that it will give more powers to Hindutva outfits to target minorities in the name of preventing religious conversion.

Leader of the Opposition in assembly, Siddaramaiah has said that when there is an existing law to prevent forcible religious conversions or through inducements, then what is the need for new law.

Meanwhile, so far the Congress has succeeded in preventing the clearing of Bill the council. It plans to adopt a similar strategy to prevent it in the coming days and also in the next session.

The BJP is falling short of one member in the council for majority. It plans to get Independent MLC, Lakhan Jarkiholi into the party fold for the purpose.

Amid this, more organizations may join to exert pressure on the BJP government to drop the plan. The BJP government so far, appears to be adamant to clear the Bill before going for assembly polls in 2023.


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February 2024


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