Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill

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The Gujurat Freedom of Religion Bill is a bill concerning religious conversions in Gujurat, India.

Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill 2006[edit]

In order to regulate religious conversions, the Gujarat government is proposing an amendment[1] that will group Jainism and Buddhism along with Hinduism, and thus the adoption of any faith within the group will not be considered a conversion.[2] The bill passed by voice vote in the Gujarat assembly on September 29, 2006.

All India Digambar Jain Mahasabha led by NK Jain opposed the move on September 20, 2006. He stated, "Any government, as per their convenience and agenda cannot afford to curb our right of a religious identity"[3]

Bhartiya Dharma Rakshak Sena (BDRS), a small organisation said to be run by Jains, maintains that all religions in India are a part of Hinduism, "which is not a religion but a culture." In a press release, on September 22, 2006, Jasmin Shah, Piyush Jain and Abhay Shah of BDRS stated that the controversy is being promoted by forces who want to weaken Hinduism by creating minorities. They state that "Jainism is independent of Vedic religion, known as 'Hinduism'".[4] The BDRS members claimed that there four sub-sects in Jainism, out of which one, the Digambara sect, is demanding a minority status.

On October 3, 2006 the predominant Jain sect in Gujarat, the Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Sangh, held a meeting with state’s solicitor-general to assert that Jainism is a distinct religion and not a Hindu denomination. Shrenik Shah, Gujarat’s leading industrialist and president of the All India Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Sangh, said that they had held a meeting with Gujarat’s solicitor-general and expressed their view to recognise Jainism as distinct religion. "We are not primarily concerned with the conversion aspect of the bill. But we have asserted our view that Jainism is a distinct religion," said Shah[5]

Supreme Court of India's opinion[edit]

In 2005, the Supreme Court of India declined to issue a writ of mandamus to grant Jains the status of a religious minority throughout India, and left it to the individual states to decide on the minority status of the Jain religion.[6]

However, the Supreme Court had recently observed that "The Jain Religion is indisputably not a part of Hindu Religion".[7]

See also[edit]

Main lists: List of basic law topics and List of legal topics


  1. ^ "Wired". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  2. ^ Gujarat Conversion Law Amended To Suit Jains! | Indian Muslims Blog
  3. ^ "Minorities protest against Gujarat's conversion law". The Times Of India. 21 September 2006. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Religion Bill stirs up an unholy mess
  6. ^ Appeal (civil) 4730 of 1999, Decided on 8 August 2005 Bal Patil & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.Bal Patil & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. Indian Supreme Court Case
  7. ^ Judgment, Supreme Court of India, Per Dalveer Bhandari J., Civil Appeal No. 9595 of 2003, para 25, decided On: 21.08.2006 Committee of Management Kanya Junior High School Bal Vidya Mandir, Etah, U.P. v. Sachiv, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.P. and Ors.Committee of Management Kanya Junior High Bal Vindya Mandir, Etah, U.P. v. Sachiv, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.P. and Ors. Indian Supreme Court Case

External links[edit]