WEA RLC: A Triumph for Religious Freedom in India!

"The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love"

Psalm 33:5

It is with joy that the WEA Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) welcomes the verdict on the land mark anti-conversion law case, Evangelical Fellowship of India vs State of Himachal Pradesh, which challenged the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2006 and Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Rules, 2007.

In its verdict delivered on 30 August, 2012, the Himachal Pradesh High Court struck down section 4 of the Act which made it compulsory for anyone seeking to convert from his/her religion to give a 30-day notice to the District Magistrate prior to conversion.

The Court also struck down Rule 3 of the Rules, as being violative of Article 14 and ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution of India. The Court also held that Rule 5 only insofar as it relates to actions relating to Section 4 is also held to be ultra vires.

Rules 3 and 5 made it mandatory for the state to inquire into every religious conversion without providing adequate safeguards outlining the time frame for such an inquiry or even who should conduct the inquiry at the request of the district magistrate.

Sadly, all other provisions of the Act and the Rules were held to be legal and valid in line with the 1977 Rev Staniclaus judgment of the Supreme Court which upheld similar laws in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

WEA RLC congratulates Rev. Richard Howell, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, Tehmina Arrora and the entire legal team which valiantly fought this case, for the freedom of religion in India.

Godfrey Yogarajah
Executive Director
WEA Religious Liberty Commission