Essay on Right to Religion and Conscience

First, the right to religion and conscience does not preclude the State from making any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice, and secondly, for social welfare and reform or for throwing open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to any class or section of Hindus.

The right to religion and conscience gives every citizen the liberty of belief and worship. It means that everyone is free to profess and follow any religion and perform the necessary rites connected with his religious practices.

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The State should have nothing to do with the religion of its citizens. It should be the private sanctuary of every individual. The State which recognises this principle is called a secular State.

The Constitution declares India a secular democratic Republic which secures to all its citizens liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

The desecration and demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, by the volunteers of the Bharatiya Janata Party, its associates the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena was condemned by both the Houses of Parliament and was described as an “attack on Secularism.”

But the right to religious faith is not admitted by all the States. Some States permit only a certain type of religious faith others do not permit unrestricted worship. Pakistan does not allow idol worship and Pakistan Government’s conception of idolatry is so narrow that it refused permission to India’s High Commissioner to place a wreath on Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Karachi on his first death anniversary.

The modem State, however, accepts the principle of religious tolerations. Nevertheless, no State permits worship which involves immorality. Nor can it allow any religious sect which endangers the existence of the State.

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