Pastor Christian Mölk | Right to Religion in the Nepalese Constitution

Since it is still punishable by law to ”convert a person of one religion to another religion”, it seems as the new Nepalese Constitution does NOT provide its citizens with the full Right to Religion according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

My interpretation of the new Nepalese Constitution is that every person have the right to have whatever religion ​they want, but cannot preach it to people of other religions. That is not consistent with the universal human right to ”manifest his religion or belief in teaching” (correct me if I am wrong)That could mean that evangelism ​will be punishable by law and make all Christian activities outside of the church illegal. 

Below is two English versions of the new Constitution of Nepal and also a list of all the articles regarding Religious Freedom from the different Constitutions Nepal have had since 1959:

 

Constitution of Nepal, 2072 (2015) – Unofficial translation supported by International IDEA, UNDP and the Nepal Law Society

26: Right to Religious freedom: 

(1) Each person shall be free to profess, practice, and preserve his/her religion according to his/her faith.

(2) Every religious denomination shall, maintaining its independent existence, have the right to manage and protect its religious places and religious trusts in accordance with law. Provided that it shall not be deemed to have hindered to make law to operate and protect a religious place or religious trust and to manage trust property and regulate land management.

(3) While exercising the right as provided for by this Article, no person shall act or make others act in a manner which is contrary to public health, decency and morality, or behave or act or make others act to disturb public law and order situation, or convert a person of one religion to another religion, or disturb the religion of other people. Such an act shall be punishable by law.

4: State of Nepal:

Nepal is an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive democratic, socialism-oriented federal democratic republican state. Explanation: For the purpose of this article, ‘secular’ means protection of religion and culture

 

Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007

Right to religion: Every person has the right to profess, practice and preserve his/her own religion as handed down to him/her from ancient times having due regards to the social and cultural traditional practices. Provided that no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another, and shall not act or behave in a manner which may jeopardize the religion of others. Every religious denomination has the right to maintain its independent existence, and for this purpose to manage and protect its religious places and religious trusts, in accordance with law.

 

Civil Code, His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, 2049 (1992)

Section 3, A

  1. No person shall propagate any religion in a manner likely to undermine another religion, or convert anyone into another religion. In case he has only made an attempt to dos, he will be punished with imprisonment not more than three years. In case he has already converted any one into another religion, he shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than six years. If he is a foreign national, he shall be deported from Nepal after completing such sentences.

(B) 1 (a)

In case any person does anything which undermines any religious place or religious function, he may be punished with imprisonment of not more than three years, or with a fine of not more than Rs. 3000 or with both.

 

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 2047 (1990)

Part 3 (FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS): Section 19 (Right to Religion):

  • Every person shall have the freedom to profess and practice his own religion as handed down to him from ancient times having due regard to traditional practices:

Provided that no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another.

  • Every religious denomination shall have the right to maintain its independent existence and for this purpose to manage and protect its religious places and trusts.

Part 1 (PRELIMINARY): Section 4 (The Kingdom):

  • Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual, democratic, independent, indivisible, sovereign, Hindu and Constitutional Monarchical Kingdom.

 

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1962

Part 1 (PRELIMINARY): Section 3 (The Kingdom):

  • Nepal is an independent, indivisible and sovereign Monarchical Hindu Kingdom.

Part 3 (FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES AND RIGHTS): Section 14 (Right to Religion):

Every person may profess his own religion as handed down from ancient times and may practice it having regard to the traditions.

Provided that no person shall be entitled to convert another person from one religion to another.

 

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1959

Part 3 (FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT): Section 5 (Religion):

Every citizen, having regard to the current traditions, many practice and profess his own religion as handed down from ancient times.

Provided that no person shall be entitled to convert another person to his religion.

 

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