Anti-conversion laws in India are state-level statutes aimed at deterring religious conversions carried out through fraudulent means. The underlying motivations behind these laws are multilayered and primarily derive from socio-political, religious, and historical contexts.

Underlying Motivations

Safeguarding Religious Identity: The core intent behind anti-conversion laws is to protect individuals, particularly those from vulnerable communities, from being coerced or misled into changing their religion. It seeks to preserve religious diversity and identity in a culturally pluralistic society like India.

Political Factors: Anti-conversion laws are sometimes influenced by political ideologies and electoral considerations. Political parties may leverage these laws to consolidate their vote banks along religious lines.

Cultural Preservation: From a cultural perspective, these laws aim to maintain societal harmony by preventing religious conversions, which are perceived as a potential source of communal tension.

Historical Context: The roots of anti-conversion laws can also be traced back to the colonial era when Christian missionaries were accused of mass conversions, stirring suspicion and resistance among the majority community.


While the motivations mentioned above present a case for anti-conversion laws, they have been critiqued on several fronts:

Right to Freedom of Religion: Critics argue that these laws infringe upon an individual’s constitutional right to freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which encompasses the right to propagate one’s religion, thereby indirectly enabling conversions.

Potential for Misuse: These laws can potentially be misused to harass individuals and communities, particularly in interfaith marriages or voluntary conversions.

Inhibiting Social Mobility: Religious conversion, in some cases, can be a form of social protest or mobility. The stringent provisions of these laws may discourage such transitions.

Undermining Secularism: The enforcement of anti-conversion laws may lead to state interference in religious affairs, undermining the secular fabric of the nation.


While the intent to prevent forced conversions is necessary to protect the rights of vulnerable individuals, it is essential that these laws strike a balance between preserving religious diversity and upholding individual freedom of religion. The implementation of such laws should be devoid of any political bias and should not infringe upon the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish July 23, 2023