When we talk about the great Indian civilization, the first thing that comes to our mind is the cultural diversity that exists in our beloved motherland. Be it race, religion, creed, community or caste we are a heterogeneous lot as a nation in many respects.
One of the salient features of our constitution that binds the secular fabric of our country is the Right to Freedom of Religion. Our country grants the freedom to its citizens to choose and practice their own religious beliefs and faiths. Hence the concept of secularism stands tall in the preamble of our constitution.
The Constitution ensures that no citizen is deprived of this right to profess the religion of his choice peacefully within the Indian territory.
The Constitution of India has certain provisions relating to “Right of Freedom of Religion”. Articles 25 & 28 of the constitution make India a secular state. The 42nd amendment of the constitution inserts the term “secular” in the preamble of the constitution.
Hence the Indian law has clearly stated out a secular stance on its position on Religion:
1. India has no state religion
2. State does not discriminate between religions
3. State cannot impose any tax to promote a religion or to maintain religious institution
4. Religious instructions cannot be imparted in educational institution run by state funds
5. In educational institutions recognized by the state and receiving aid from the government, religious instructions cannot be compulsorily given to an unwilling students.
6. In educational institutions run by religious establishments, religious instructions can be given only to students willing to receive it. Religious instructions can be given to the minors only with the express consent of their guardians.
Article 25 of Indian Constitution grants freedom to every citizen of India to profess, practice and propagate his own religion. The constitution, in the preamble professes to secure to all its citizen’s liberty of belief, faith and worship.
Article 25 (1) allows every citizen to freely follow his own religion, subject to public order, morality and health. Thus in the name of religion, committing sati or infanticide cannot be permitted.
The Hindu religious institutions of a public character must be thrown open to every Hindu. Caste system or untouchability cannot be practised in the case of entry into public Hindu temples.
Besides these rights to the individuals to profess, practice and propagate religious of their choice, religious groups or denominations are given four rights. These are right to:
- Establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes
- To manage its own affairs in matters of religion
- To own and acquire movable and immovable property
- To administer such property in accordance with law. (Article 26 of Constitution of India).
So in a nutshell, every individual citizen in India has full freedom of religion. No citizen in our country can be subjected to any social, economic or political discrimination on grounds of religion.