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Madhya Pradesh HC refuses to dismiss criminal proceedings against man accused of offering money for religious conversion

A case was filed against George Mangalapilly after complaint accused him of providing inducements for converting others into Christianity

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Saturday declined to quash criminal proceedings against a man accused of induced religious conversion by offering money, reported Live Law.

A complaint was filed by Dharmendra Dohar against Christian proselytisers for cajoling him to convert his religion and offering money as an allurement for conversion. A man named George Mangalapilly was booked in connection with the case 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.

However, the plaintiff has alleged that people from Bajrang Dal had forced him to sign a paper and he was not aware of the content of the paper. Subsequently, charged were framed against the accused by the Judicial Magistrate.

George moved Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking cancellation of criminal proceedings against him. The court said that in the absence of proper sanction with regards to offences under section 153-B(1) and 295-A of IPC, the JMFC has exceeded its jurisdiction while taking cognizance in the case under Section 153-B(1) and 295-A of IPC. The court, therefore, quashed the criminal proceedings against him.

Court refused to quash the criminal proceedings citing the offence was related to religion and critical to public tranquillity

However, the court observed that the prosecution has obtained required sanction from District Magistrate Satna against the accused under Section 3/4 of Adhiniyam, 1968 that forbids people from converting or attempting to convert others from one religion to another, directly or indirectly, by the way of allurement or coercion. It also took notice that the complainant in the FIR had mentioned that the accused had allured him into converting his religion and that complainant and his friend converted themselves into their religion.

Refusing to quash the criminal proceedings, Justice Rajendra Kumar Srivastava said that while complainant Dharmendra Dohar had no opposition in quashing the proceedings but considering that the offence is related to religion and crucial to maintaining public tranquillity and bearing in mind the allegations made in the FIR as well as 161 statements, the judge decided against quashing the criminal proceedings.

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