RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION ART. 25 TO 28


RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION ART. 25 TO 28

Article 25: Freedom of Conscience and Free profession,practice and propagation of religion.

1. Freedom of Conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mould his relation with God or creatures in whatever way he desire.

2. Right to profess: Declaration of one’s religious beliefs and faith openly and freely.

3. Right to practice: Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies and exhibition of beliefs and ideas.

4. Right to propagate: Transmission and dissemination of one’s religious beliefs to others or exposition of the tenets of one’s religion.

5. Article 25 covers not only religious beliefs (doctrines) but also religious practices (rituals) Moreover, these rights are available  to all persons- citizens as well as non- citizens.

6. However, these rights are subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions relating to fundamental rights.

7. Further, the State is permitted to: a) Regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practice. b) Provide for social welfare and reform or through open hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindu.

8. Article 25 also contains two explanations: a) Wearing and carrying of kirpans is to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion. b) The Hindus, in this context, include Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs:

1. Article 25 guarantees rights of individuals, while Article 26 guarantees rights of religious denominations or their sections. In other words, Article 26 project collective freedom of religion.

2. Like the rights under Art. 25, the rights under Article 26 are also subject to public order, morality and health but not subject to other provisions relating to the Fundamental Rights.

3. The Supreme Court held that a religious denomination must satisfy three conditions: A) It should be a collection of individuals who have a system of beliefs (doctrines) which they regard as conductive to their spiritual well-being. B) It should have a common organization. C) It should be designated by a distinctive name.

4. The Supreme Court held that the ‘ Ramakrishna Mission’ and ‘Ananda Marga’ are religious denominations within the Hindu religion. It also held that Aurobindo Society is not a religious denomination.

Article 27: Freedom from Taxation for promotion of a religion.

1. Article 27 lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintence of any particular religion or religious denomination.

2. In other words, The State should not spend the publice money collected by way of tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.

3.    This provision prohibits the State from favouring, patronizing and supporting one religion over the other. This means that the taxes can be used for the promotion or maintenance of all religions.

4. This provision prohibits only levy of a tax and not a fee. This is because the purpose of a fee is to control secular administration of religious institutions and not to promote or maintain religion.

5. Thus, a fee can be levied on pilgrims to provide them some special service or safety measures. Similarly, a fee can be levied on religious endowments for meeting the regulation expenditure.

Article 28: Freedom from attending religious instruction:

1. No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.

2. However, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust, requiring imparting of religious instruction in such institution.

3. Further, no person attending any educational institution recognized by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to attend any religious instruction or worship in that institution without his consent.

4. In case of a minor, the consent of his guardian is needed.

5. Thus, Article 28 distinguishes between four types of educational institutions:

    a) Institutions wholly maintained by the State.

   b)   Institutions administered by the State but established under any  

         endowment or trust.

c) Institutions recognized by the State.

d) Institutions receiving aid from the State.

RESTRICTIONS ON RIGHT TO RELIGION

1. Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience.  All people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.

2. India has been declared as a secular democracy as such all persons are equally to freedom of conscience. The Article guarantees to every person-

a.     The freedom of conscience

b.    The right to profess practice and propagate religion.

3. Thus, a person may “profess, practice or propagate” his religion. No limitation, except under Article 25 of the Constitution shall be imposed upon the propagation on practice of religion.

4. The freedom of conscience, practice and propagation of religion is subject to public order, morality and health. Thus freedom guaranteed under the Constitution should not endanger public order. It must not be utilized for immoral purposes.

5. The freedom of religion may be checked upon the ground of health. The State may regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with the religious practice.

6.    Art 25 is an article of faith in the Constitution.

7. Religious freedom does not include right of worship at any and every place of worship. Worship at particular place can be claimed if that place has particular significance for the religion.

8. Student to study the state regional language is not against Art. 29.

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