India is one of the most diverse nations in terms of religion, it being the birthplace of four major world religions: Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India. Article 25 says “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. The concept of secularism is implicit in the Preamble of the Constitution which declares the resolve of the people to secure to all its citizens “liberty to thought, belief, faith and worship” the 42nd Amendment act, 1976, has inserted the word “secular” in the Preamble. Being secular does not mean that the state of India is irreligious or atheistic. Its just that they are neutral in matters of religion. The state can have no religion of its own and it shall treat all religions equally. The Indian Constitution permits the central government to intervene in in religion but this intervention should be based on constitution only.
In S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, the supreme court has held that secularism is a basic feature of the Constitution. The state treats equally all religions. The Indian constitution simplifies the positive concept of secularism.
The government has setup the Ministry of Minority affairs, the National Human Rights Commission and the National commission for minorities to investigate religious discrimination and to make recommendations for redressal to the local authorities.
Article 25: it imparts freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
Article 26: it gives freedom to manage religious affairs
Article 27: it sets freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion
Article 28: it gives freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions
In Ratilal Panachand Gandhi v. State of Bombay, the supreme court held that article 25 guarantees every person (not only citizens) the freedom of conscience and right to freely profess and practice imposed with certain restrictions by the state. Article 25 only protects those practices which are integral part of a religion.
The restriction of morality which was earlier of societal morality has changed into constitutional morality in India.
The court exercised its power and decided against the old and undeveloped practice which holds no value in today’s society.
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