India is declared to be secular country. Every body is independent to
practice his or his religious faith or belief in Indian Republic. This was the
basic difference between India and Pakistan, when in the year 1947 the two got
independence. When our country became independent it adopted Secular ideas in so
far as religion is concern. It is a fact that every citizen in India is free to
choose and practice his own religion.
Though atheism is popular way of faith being practiced in India. Since ancient
days , Charwaka way of life was there, who did not accept existence of any
divine power. Besides this, seeds of atheism also found seed in Buddhism,
Sankhya philosophy etc. Though atheism is also one of the popular way of life in
India, however in literal sense, this concept was not mentioned in India
Thought this word does not found mention in Indian Constitution, but right this
very right to practice flows from article 25 of Constitution of India.
25 of Constitution of India is reproduced as under:
Article 25 of constitution of India 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." Further, Article 26 says
that all denominations can manage their own affairs in matters of religion."
If we read this provision thoroughly , it can be divided into following parts.
Article 25 of Constitution of India provides to its citizen the right to:
- Freedom of conscience.
- Freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
- Manage his own affairs in matters of religion,
Provided the same honors public order, morality and health.
It follows that a citizen of India can enjoy freedom of conscience , freedom to
practice religion and can mange his own affairs in matter of religion, provides
the same is not objectionable to public order, morality and health. Its goods
that every body is granted right to choose and practice his own faith and
Since ages we have witnessed that in name of religion, world has witnessed
massacre , war , superstition , battle etc. Be it Hinduism, Jews, Muslim or
Christianity, Sikhism etc. there has been constant war amongst the followers.
In the name of religion of religion lots of ill practices are flourishing.
Religion has been great factor behind initiation of war by one Nation against
another one. Superstition, blind faith etc. are major drawback , which curtails
the objective thinking of human mind. Besides this , in the name of religion,
people develops hatred for other people.
It is said that only a God realized Soul starts new religion. But problem lie
with their followers. Religion is a matter of faith. When there are different
kind of faith, struggle is bound to happen. Followers follow their religion
blindly. Though one religion never teaches to be intolerant to another one. But
reality is contrary.
Having seen the nuances caused in the name of religion, there are many persons
who like to search the truth not by faith, but open eyes. They apply their mind,
their objectivity to reach the conclusion , in so far a faith is concern. They
want to taste the truth themselves. Only because something has been mentioned in
a particular book, they do not like to obey blindly.
Problems lies when one is forced to be associated with a particular religion by
birth. When a child takes birth, a particular religion is imposed upon him
blindly. He has to follow it, whether he likes it or not? He has mention name of
a particular religion while filling up the school forms or other government
forms. It is presumed that one has to belong to a particular religion.
There may be many person, who does not like to be associated with a particular
religion. One may like to taste beauty of Hinduism, Muslim, Christianity etc.
as he wish. He may practice one religion for a particular period and just like
any subject in School , he would to change it.
Where is his option available in India? Even Article 25 of constitution of India
guarantee right of a citizen "Freedom of conscience." When a person is entitled
to freedom of conscience and if his conscience suggest him not to follow any
religion, then this right should also be granted as a matter of right.
This factum can not be overlooked that 7 % of World Population does not practice
religion. The most number of people who do not practice any religion, do
inhabitant in China. Who knows this might be one of the factor for making China
, a super power in the world.
From reading of Article 25 of Constitutions of India, it is apparent that right
to practice religion also does include right not to practice any religion. Time
has come that this right should also found express and tangible expression now.
Now a second option must be made available to India Citizen to indicate that the
same does not practice any religion, while filling up school form or any
The Indian Constitution, though does not contain the word atheism in it, still
by grating freedom conscience, it allows every Indian Citizen to practice any
faith , which may also be inclusive of atheism.
Written By: Ajay Amitabh Suman, Advocate
, High Court Of Delhi