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Religion: Subordinate to Indian Constitution or Not?

Religion is a matter of faith. In India's history, religion is an integral part of the country's culture. The Constitution of India has given us many Fundamental Rights, and one of the first rights is to profess and propagate any religion of our own. But this thing is always under controversy about whether religion is more important or the Fundamental Rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India guarantees the citizens of India many fundamental but central rights that allow the citizens of India to live a free and independent life.

The Indian Constitution and Religion

The Constitution of India provides an essential Fundamental Right, which is Article 14, which talks about the equality before the law or the equal protection of laws, therefore, embodies the principle of 'non-discrimination.' It says that everyone is equal which means whether it be a man or a woman or a child or a senior citizen, all are equal in the eyes of the law.

Another Fundamental Right which can be connected with the concept of religion in Article 15. Article 15 talks about the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Article 14 and Article 15 read in the light of the preamble to the Constitution reflect the thinking of the Constitution makers and prevent any discrimination.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of life and personal liberty except procedure established by law. According to this, everyone has the full right to go anywhere any worship any God and Goddess of their choice.

Article 25 and Article 26 are both the first Fundamental Rights which give protection to the religion of the citizens of India. Article 25 states that subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of the III Part of the Indian Constitution, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution of India conferred a right on all classes and sections of Hindus to enter into a public temple. Article 25(2)(b) is much more comprehensive in its contents and has reference to the rights of communities. The right protected under this Article is a right to enter into a temple for purposes of worship, and that further it should be construed liberally in favor of the public. And Article 26 mainly talks about the religious denomination.

The purpose of this Article is to throw light upon some aspects of the religion as well as on the laws created to ensure the smooth functioning of the country. There's always a fight in the country over the religious issues. Everyone in the country wants to enjoy the rights provided to them and preserve their religion, but sometimes it creates a situation where another person is infringing on the rights of others. Sometimes it becomes too difficult for the Courts to create a balance between the two.

The courts also make use of a the potent legal tool already present in other Common Law systems, that of essential practices.

People have different opinions. To some, religion is a matter of faith. Religion has its basis in a system of beliefs and doctrines but certain practices, even though regarded as religious, may have sprung from merely superstitious beliefs and may, in that sense, be only extraneous and unessential accretions to religion itself and to some the word 'religion' is very sacred, and to preserve their religion, violation of others rights is just. This creates a difference between the societies and gives a raise to conflicts due to the clash of their own opinions.

Citizens living in this country all have different opinions. People, for their belief, sometimes discriminate against those people who do not work according to their beliefs, and some people to exercise their rights hurt the rights of others.

The conflicts on religion are common. Some people fight to secure their religion and some people struggle to ensure their rights.

The most famous case is the Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors[1]., most famously known as Sabarimala Case. In this case, the women were not allowed the temple, and the Supreme Court has ruled that women of all age groups can enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The apex court in a 4:1 majority said that the temple practice violates the rights of Hindu women and that banning entry of women to shrine is gender discrimination.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said that the provision in the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, which authorized the restriction, violated the right of Hindu women to practice religion. Justice Chandrachud said all individuals were created equal and observed that;

To exclude women from doing worship by allowing the right to worship to men is to place women in a position of subordination. The constitution should not become an instrument for the perpetuation of patriarchy.

Another case that can be taken is the Shani Shingnapur Case. In this case, the women were not allowed to enter the sanctum, but after four months, the efforts of finally permitted women to enter the temple and pray in the sanctum sanctorum putting an end to a 400-year-old custom. This comes after the Bombay High Court made it clear that it was incumbent upon the state government to ensure that the Maharashtra Hindu Places of Worship (Entry Authorisation) Act, 1956, was enforced correctly.

In Acharya Maharajshri Narendra Prasadji Anand Prasadji Maharaj v. State of Gujarat[2], the SC observed that

no rights in an organized society can be absolute. Enjoyment of one's rights must be consistent with the enjoyment of rights also by others. Where in a free play social forces, it is not possible to bring about a voluntary harmony, the State has to step in to set right the imbalance between competing interests.

Such perspective found its way, for instance, into a definition of religion is given by the High Court of Bombay, which ruled that whatever binds a man to his own conscience and whatever moral or ethical principle regulate the lives of men believing in that theistic conscience or religious the belief that alone can constitute religion as understood in the Constitution. However, this definition, solely in terms of conscience, was felt to be ill-adapted to Indian realities and was later broadened by the Supreme Court in the so-called Shirur Mutt case[3]:

 A religion may not only lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, but it might also prescribe rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral parts of religion, and these forms and observances might extend even to matters of food and dress (The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments 1954:1024). [4]

Thus, religious freedom actually extends beyond the individual's conscience and concerns public space through the liberty accorded to religious practice, as stated clearly in Article 25 (1) of the Constitution, quoted above, however, limited it may be by considerations of public order, morality, and health (a provision common to secular Constitutions throughout the world). Religious communities are also identified as such in Article 26 of the Constitution under the label religious denomination.

The law, therefore, acknowledges absolute religious freedom in the intimacy of individuals, it also recognizes the fact that the expression of this religious freedom may take various public forms, whether through religious practice or by taking part in religious collectivities and institutions.

Nevertheless, this remains an individualistic perspective according to which society — and religion—are made up of addition of persons, with their rights and actions limited by the public good, a presupposition that is widely at variance from what social science has reported about the entanglement, if not the indeterminacy, of religious issues with social, economic, legal, and political relationships.

Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors[6] is the most critical case in such a concept.

All these cases indicate that the Constitution of India is the priority. Indian Constitution was drafted to achieve the smooth functioning and proper functioning of the country; therefore, this thing should be taken into consideration in cases of religion too.

A way deeper-rooted web of law and faith than is typically assumed. At one level, it definitely will be approached in terms of heritage, or social control of ism, or non-secular reform, or a judge's personal agenda. However, at far a lot of elementary levels, it additionally results from the system itself that imposes a legal categorization on aspects of the spiritual life: faith needs to fall inside this legal universe of discourse and of enforceable rules.

The sort of faith that's therefore eventually formed is generally framed by queries and regulations that were at the start careful for different, non-religious litigations. Indeed, nearly all aspects {of non-secular |of spiritual|of non-secular} life might, therefore, be re-defined through such legal classes projected and obligatory on ethical problems, a truth typically underestimated within the description of actual attitudes, practices, and establishments in faith.

In a country like Asian country, wherever ideals of liberty and freedom area unit essential for the functioning of a healthy democracy, each individual and cluster rights got to be thought-about, and also, the State should bridge this gap. The Sabarimala case provides the Supreme Court with a chance to bridge the gap between constitutional ideals and social reality. It additionally needs the State to revamp the Constitution and appearance firmly at the Articles mentioned on top of once it involves protecting the rights of the people.

Conclusion
We sleep in a rustic that calls itself independent; we tend to draw a bead on for increasing the GDP. However, wherever we tend to still fail as a society, as a nation, is in eradicating the deep-seated social system within the minds of its voters. The results of such associate ideology continue to exist altogether spheres of our poignant life girls specifically. Even nowadays, girls' area unit discriminated on the grounds of gender, sex.

Within the recent case, they need to have been discriminated against on the grounds of purity and pollution. The movement and different faculties of thought that support human rights had come back a protracted approach in achieving the illustration of ladies across public areas. However, the psychological and patriarchic attitude continues to rule the bulk of the population, and it'll take continuous reforms and development to realize a simple and equitable society.

Once we utter reforms, the law is that the final authority that derives its validity from the Constitution of India, then constitutional reforms area unit essential in social group reforms. During this context, the judgment is radical in its approach to rationalize non-secular practices prevailing in Indian society. It additionally ensures individual liberty and protects women's rights publicly places.

End-Notes:
  1. 28 September, 2018
  2. (1974) A.I.R. S.C. 2098
  3. 1954 AIR 282, 1954 SCR 1005
  4. https://journals.openedition.org/samaj/4451
  5. https://journals.openedition.org/samaj/4451
  6. SUPRA NOTE 1

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