Secularism in the Indian Constitution Test 2 2014


Two reasons why India is a secular State :

  1. To keep religion out of politics – To avoid religious fundamentalism.
  2. To protect the minorities in particular.

 What is Secularism?

A secular State is not a Godless state.

In the West, when they talk of secularism, they mean that in political matters they are not bothered about God. But in India we have a different meaning for Secularism. It means that there is no discrimination between religions.

All persons in India are given rights.

No interference in individual’s beliefs.

There is no State religion in India.

Even in UK there is State religion.

In India there could be Muslim President, Chief Justice etc.

In India no citizen is required to pay taxes for the maintenance of religious institutions.

No person shall be compelled to attend religious instructions aided by the State.

In other institutions there can be religious instructions but they cannot compel students to attend.

An individual is free to profess, practice, propagate religion.

Art. 25 to 28 deal with provisions that make India a secular state. They guarantee Freedom of Religion.

But the  state can impose restrictions in the interest of public order, morality etc.

If there is evidence that any religion practice evils like sati, human sacrifice etc. the state can interfere.

State can control economic, financial and political or other secular activity associated with religious practice. But the State cannot interfere with freedom of conscience.

However secular activity of a particular religion can be controlled.

Every religious group in India can maintain religious and charitable institutions.

Can acquire movable and immovable property according to law.

If they follow some rituals which the state considers objectionable, then state is entitled to step in. Thus take Conversion. Conversion is allowed if there is no resort  to fraud or force or temptations. Eg. Christianity. SC held that you have right to propagate religion but no right to convert others.(Stanislaus Case)

The State should not discriminate on grounds religion in matters of employment, aid, etc.

The Majority  cannot impose its culture  on the Minorities

But even though every religious  group has the right to administer educational institutions of its choice , it does not include right to mal-administer.

One special right is guaranteed to minorities. When their property is taken away by the State full compensation has to be paid.

Our Constitution is more secular than any other constitution in the world.

A test will be given in the class. You may post your doubts or views and you can have a discussion among yourself. The discussions will be moderated by one of our Professors.

3 thoughts on “Secularism in the Indian Constitution Test 2 2014

  1. Indian Preamble states that Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion, and there is no official religion. The Government treats all religious beliefs and practices with equal respect and honor.

    But how far are we, the people, secular in thought, word and deed? When we look around us and examine the working of various non-government institutions, the various political parties, especially national parties, which are supposed to have thrown their membership open to all communities, we find that the spirit of secularism is being flouted day after day. The goal of One World is still far, far away, but since independence the Government of this country has undeniably kept itself aloof from religious controversies, not taking any side and taking all possible measures to ensure to every citizen full religious freedom. The State stands committed to a policy of non-interference in religious matters. Religion is a matter of personal beliefs and convictions. We are not completely secular in our approach and attitudes.

  2. Any idealism will never be fully fulfilled and so too this idealism on secularism.But, one can assert, by and large the above ideal is almost reached in India, as every person of the country,irrespective of his caste,Religion,sex,region,language, is treated equally under law and most of Indians have strong secular sentiments. But certain political parties are proving this wrong by favoring their respective communities and bringing about clashes between religions.

  3. The Constitution of India makes several special provisions for the Scheduled Castes who are to be identified by the Government (in the name of the President) and whose official list may from time to time be amended by Parliament. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 issued under this provision provided the first list of the Scheduled Castes but made the list religion specific. Initially the 1950 Order restricted the Scheduled Castes net to the Hindu Religion, although the castes included in the net were shared by various other communities. Later, Sikhs and Buddhists were also included in the net by amendments introduced in1956 and 1990 respectively. Since as a local custom of general prevalence the caste system is found in vogue also among the Christians and the Muslims, demands have been made by these com- munities from time to time for the removal of the religion related Proviso from the Scheduled Castes Or- der of 1950 so that the lower castes among them may also be included in the Scheduled Castes net and benefit from the special measures introduced for them. They have had recourse to the courts also for this relief but the courts have not agreed to it due to the egalitarian ‘nature of Christianity and Islam in their puritan form. The Supreme Court has observed. Christianity and Islam are religions prevalent not only in India but also in other countries of the world. We know that in other countries these religions do not recognize a system of caste as an integral part of their creed or tenets.

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