The constitution of Nepal establishes Nepal as a secular state. However, it defines secularism as âthe protection of ancient religion and culture and freedom of religion and cultureâ. It has given individuals the right to profess and practice their own religion.
In general, the 2017 Constitution and National Criminal Code prohibit the conversion of persons from one religion to another and prohibit religious conduct that disturbs public order or is contrary to public health, decency and morality. The laws also prohibit proselytism as well as âdamaging religious sentimentâ to any caste, ethnic community, or class. The 2017 National Criminal Code regulates all offenses related to religion.
Here are offenses against religion according to the law and penalties imposed in such cases.
1. Violation of shrines or holy places
Section 155 of the National Criminal Code, 2017, prohibits any person from damaging or injuring or in any way defiling a place of religious worship, prayer or function or the place that is kept sacred or the burial site or burial site, destroy or defile similar other acts with the intention of offending or offending the religion or religious sentiments of any caste, race, community or class, knowing that such outrage or offense is likely to occur.
If a person commits any of the above acts, they will be punished with a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to 30,000 rupees. In addition, the law provides a separate punishment for each foreigner who commits the above-mentioned offense or allows to commit such a crime, he / she must be deported from Nepal within seven days of the date of the end of the above-mentioned prison sentence.
2. Outrageous religious feelings
The legal provision of the National Criminal Code of 2017 states that no one should outrage the religious sentiments of any caste, race, community or class through words, spoken or written, visual representations or signs or in any other way.
The outrageous act is punished with a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to 20,000 rupees.
In addition, the law provides that no one may knowingly interfere with other religious rites and rituals that have been handed down or followed from time immemorial. If someone interferes with the religious rites and rituals of others, they will be punished with a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees, or both.
3rd act of proselytizing (conversion)
No one shall convert anyone from one religion to another, or attempt or encourage such change, or engage in acts or conduct that undermines the religion, opinion or belief of any caste, race, community, or converts anyone to any other religion, be it by cause or not in a manner that undermines or disseminates such religion or opinion with the intention of such conversion.
Any person who commits the above offense will be punished with a prison term of up to five years and a fine not exceeding 50,000 rupees. In addition, foreigners are punished with additional penalties as they are deported from Nepal within seven days of the end of their imprisonment.
The complaint about proselytizing must be made within six months of becoming aware of the commission of the crime. All other aforementioned offenses against religion must be reported within three months of becoming aware of the offense being committed.