A double bench at the Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur has issued guidelines that religious conversion would be possible only after a mandatory intimation and clearance by the district collector, SDM, SDO. The guidelines were set while hearing a habeas corpus case of 22-year-old Payal aka Areefa who had converted to Islam after she married a certain Faiz Modi.This declaration of conversion was done on a ten rupee stamp paper. The court observed that merely declaring on a stamp paper that an individual is converting religion would not be considered legally valid. This guideline would remain effective till the Rajasthan Dharma Swatantraya Bill 2007, which is pending for the last 11 years, is cleared.Hearing the petition Justices GK Vyas and VK Mathur issued the guidelines. The court ordered that anyone who wants to convert will have to inform the district collector in writing. This information, including his name, address and details about the sought conversion would be displayed on the notice board at the collectorate.Once the application has been filed, after 21 days the applicant can appear before the district collector, SDM, SDO and explain reasons for the conversion. The guidelines said that objections would also be recorded. The court clarified that in case this procedure was not adopted then marriages performed after conversion would not be considered valid. The court further said that the person seeking conversion would have to confirm before the DM, SDM, SDO that he had faith in the religion he was converting to.
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