Right to freedom of Religion

Indian Constitution provides rights and duties to citizen. One of the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution is the right to Freedom of Religion. As a secular nation, every citizen of India has the right to freedom of religion i.e. right to follow any religion. As one can find so many religions being practiced in India, the constitution guarantees to every citizen the liberty to follow the religion of their choice. According to this fundamental right, every citizen has the opportunity to practice and spread their religion peacefully. And if any incidence of religious intolerance occurs in India, it is the duty of the Indian government to curb these incidences and take strict actions against it. Right to freedom of religion is well described in the Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28 of Indian constitution. The Constitution of India guarantees the protection of certain fundamental rights. They are given in articles 12 to 35, which form Part III of the Constitution. Among them articles 25 and 26 are the two central articles guaranteeing religious freedom.

Religion is a matter of belief or faith. The constitution of India recognizes the fact, how important religion is in the life of people of India and hence, provides for the right to freedom of religion under Articles 25 to Article 28. The Constitution of India envisages a secular model and provides that every person has the right and freedom to choose and practice his or her religion. In a number of cases, the Apex Court has held that secularism is the basic structure of the Constitution, the most important being the Keshavananda Bharati case. People in India mainly practice Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and, Christianity. In India, there are religion-specific laws and Goa is the only state to have a Uniform Civil Code known as the Goa Civil Code. The Constitution supports religious harmony which means the people of India show love and affection to different religions of the country.

In the Constitution makes it clears that the rights provided in clause (1) of article 25 are subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution that lays down the fundamental rights. Clause (2) of article 25 is a saving clause for the State so that the religious rights guaranteed under clause (1) are further subject to any existing law or a law which the State deems it fit to pass that (a) regulates or lays restriction on any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practices, or, (b) provides for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.2 Religion has its basis in “a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well being”, but it would not be correct to say that religion is nothing else but a doctrine or belief. A religion not only suggest a set of rules for its followers to accept, it also prescribe rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral part of religion and these forms and observances might extent even to matters of food and dress.

Right to Freedom of Religion play crucial role in India because followers of various religion reside here. This right safeguard the free practice, conscience, profess and propagation of religion.


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