What if one wanted to convert to minority religion in India.

The problem is it may not have a registered religious organisation associated in India.

Is religious choice in India restricted a few religions?

Does one have to create an organization and get itself registered?

  • 1
    Are you referring to the anti-conversion laws in some states such as Gujurat, or are you asking at the national level?
    – user6726
    Apr 17, 2016 at 19:51
  • 1
    @user6726 National level generally speaking. And I'm talking about if a religion that may not be recognized officially in India.
    – Wally
    Apr 18, 2016 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, one can hold any beliefs or lack thereof, and there is no need to register your beliefs with the government per se. However, there are laws where religion is relevant, such as the Hindu personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or the Hindu Succession Act, such as stating who gets your stuff if you die intestate. These laws apply to Hindus, and since Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists are treated as legal Hindus (!), it applies to them; and

to any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by the Hindu law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any of the matters dealt with herein if this Act had not been passed.

and don't ask me to interpret that "unless clause". That is, the Hindu laws do not apply to Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews. On the face of it, that would mean that Yazidis would be treated as Hindus, w.r.t. the subject matter of those laws. Registering a religion isn't relevant to the question: what matters is that the Indian Government decided to create these particular laws, and they have not created any Yazidi-specific laws.

There are currently no national laws prohibiting religious conversion, and I can't find the state laws. This article discusses such laws, noting that some states require a person to register their conversion. I seems that the restriction is on A converting B, and not on B converting sua sponte.

  • I don't quite understand the last sentence. Are A and B individuals?
    – phoog
    Jun 8, 2016 at 12:40
  • 1
    Yes: the rule is that a person may change their religion, but may not persuade another to do so.
    – user6726
    Jun 8, 2016 at 15:15
  • So India forcibly applies Hindu Laws on real minorities?
    – Wally
    Jul 19, 2016 at 13:10
  • Treated as "legal Hindus"?. This sort of categorization controversy is unfortunately rather common as it is impossible to satisfy everyone who wants their own group. In the USA, Turks, Arabs, and Berbers continue to legally be considered "White People" despite the fact that many of them don't consider themselves such and want their own category. Jun 9, 2017 at 22:31

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