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MP High Court Refuses to quash Criminal Proceedings against Accused of ‘Induced Religious Conversion’

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By Garima

A man accused of induced religious conversion even after the complainant stated that he has no objection for the same , thus the Madhya Pradesh High Court principal seat at Jabalpur has refused to quash criminal proceedings against him.

The person was charged under Section 153-B(1) and 295-A of Indian Penal Code as well as Section 3/4 of the M.P. Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968 [MP Religion Freedom Act] as a complaint was filed against him by Dharmendra Dohar.
Some people , who were the preachers of the Christian community were inspiring him to covert his religion and he will be getting money for it , as stated in the FIR. He also stated that he was forced to sign a paper by the people from Bajranag Dal , about whose contents he was unaware and this complaint was filed under Section 164 CrPC statement. Later, the charges were framed against him by Judicial Magistrate .

Later he approached the High Court seeking to quash the criminal proceedings against him. The HC said that, in respect of offence and in absence of proper sanction under section 153-B(1) and 295-A of IPC, the JMFC has exceeded its jurisdiction.
Court also said that as offence under Section 3/4 of Adhiniyam, is 1968 is concerned, mandatory sanction from District Magistrate Satna obtained was obtained by the prosecution.

Under Section 3 of Adhiniyam, 1968 , it restricts the person to convert or attempt to convert any person from one religious to another directly or indirectly religious by way of force. It was clearly stated in the FIR that he was being forced by the accused and his friend to convert religion.

While the quash of criminal proceedings was refused Justice Rajendra Kumar Shivastava  said : Complainant Dharmendra Dohar has no objection in quashing the proceeding but looking to the fact that the offence is relating to religion and  significant to maintain public tranquility, the Adhiniyam, 1968 clearly provides for the maintenance of public order, hence, under inherent jurisdiction, I do not think it fit to give it overemphasized . Therefore, considering the allegations made in the FIR as well as 161 Statements, I am not inclined to quash the proceeding in respect of offence under Section3/4 of Adhiniyam, 1968.

The quash of criminal proceedings was refused as the learned counsel for the applicant raised the ground of hostility of the complainant before the trial Court but same can be appreciated in trial, and at this stage same cannot be looked into.