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Recognition of Atheism in Indian Constitution

In the year 1947, when our country became independent it adopted secular ideas in so far as religion is concerned. It is a fact that every citizen in India is free to choose and practice his own religion. This very right flows from article 25 of the Constitution of India. Article 25 of Constitution of India is reproduced as under:

Article 25 of the 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 citizens the right to:

  1. Freedom of conscience.
  2. Freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
  3. Manage his own affairs in matters of religion,
Provided the same honors for public order, morality and health.

It follows that a citizen of India can enjoy freedom of conscience , freedom to practice religion and can manage his own affairs in matters of religion, provided the same is not objectionable to public order, morality and health. It is good that everybody is granted the right to choose and practice his own faith and religion.

Since ages we have witnessed that in the name of religion, the 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 lots of ill practices are flourishing.

Religion has been a great factor behind the initiation of war by one Nation against another one. Superstition, blind faith etc. are major drawbacks , which curtails the objective thinking of the human mind. Besides this , in the name of religion, people develop hatred for other people.

It is said that only a God realized Soul starts a new religion. But the problem lies with their followers. Religion is a matter of faith. When there are different kinds 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 a 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 lie 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 mentioned the 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 do 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 like to change it.

Where is his option available in India? Even Article 25 of the constitution of India guarantees the right of a citizen "Freedom of conscience." When a person is entitled to freedom of conscience and if his conscience suggests 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 the World Population does not practice religion. The most number of people who do not practice any religion, do inhabit China. Who knows, this might be one of the factors for making China , a super power in the world.

From reading of Article 25 of Constitutions of India, it is apparent that the right to practice religion also does include the right not to practice any religion. Time has come that this right should also be found express and tangible. Now a second option must be made available to India citizens to indicate that the same does not practice any religion, while filling up school forms or any government form.

Written By: Ajay Amitabh Suman, IPR Advocate, Hon'ble High Court of Delhi.
Email: [email protected], 9990389539

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