Author: Vranda Rellan, II year of B.B.A.,LL.B from Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad.
Birth of a human in an Indian context is attributed to various sorts such as an arbitrary placement (as at birth) in a particular social status, in a certain religion, race and caste. Any public conversation on religious affairs in India automatically highlights the topic of Secularism or the Model of Secularism in India.
India is diversed nation that consists of many religions and the freedom to practice the religion person wants has been recognized as a fundamental right and has been granted the protection by the constitution whenever it is violated. The Articles 25, 26, 27 & 28 together have been constituted as an important constitutional provision on freedom of religion. The word ‘Religion’ has been given extensive content by the way of legal and judicial proclamations.
Freedom of Rights is also subjected to morality. All the religions aim at the wellbeing morally, but on contrary there are some existing acts in religions that leads to hampering the morality of a particular religion. It causes state to intervene in the religious matters. The constitution has empowered the state to take the steps and regulate immoral practices and declare them illegal on moral grounds. Some of the immoral practices are Sati system, Self-flagellation, Devdasi system, Fire walking and Human Sacrifice.
Hence, the state has imposed certain restrictions to prevent the breach of peace arising from the violence caused by people in the name of religious practices and hampering the peace and order in the public places. Thus “Chapter XV of Indian Penal Code” has declared particular religious practices as offensive if they result in the breach of peace in public places.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PROTECTION AND CONCERNS
In the Indian constitution there are specific provisions that deal with the protection of the religious rights of each and every person present within the territory of India. Special provisions are also formulated to help the minority communities from being suppressed. The Article 25 entitles freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion, but this practice should be in a way that there is no effect on the public order, health or morality. The existing laws also provide the status of “minority communities”.
The religious issues are very sensitive and have always been the matter of concern for the ruling governments. There are number of communal and religious riots reported throughout, the incidents of deaths and communal violence also tend to rise every year in comparison to previous one. In spite of the rising number of incidents and the increase in communal violence indicated by the statistics no serious efforts are made by the administrating party to address and solve the issue and has proved it a major concern to all the religions. Despite the provisions in regards with the religious freedom the issue stands to be critical. There are reports published Home Ministry stating that there were the 111 deaths and 822 incidents of communal violence in the year 2017.
To make India a model example of diversification special attention was paid to make the country a Secular nation and not breaking it of like the western nations. The essential facet of Indian Secularism is protection of the minority interest. They have been provided almost absolute right to safeguard their language, scripts and culture and can even establish and administer the institutions to provide the educational facilities. Secularism is even the part of the preamble and is mentioned in the fundamental principle. The major goal to be addressed through this is the discouragement of efforts made by majorities to suppress the minorities and to safeguard them.
But it has become difficult to establish the non-conflicting relation between the state and the religious groups. There are many such practices that are prevalent in the religions but do not adhere to the moral standards that should be respected in the society, some of these practices are even known to violate the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens. Practices such as Sati; one of the most immoral social evil where female was supposed to burn herself alive in the pyre of her dead husband. It took years and countless efforts by the reformists to protect females from this brutal treatment. Human sacrifices were very common in ancient India, it is the act of killing an individual as a part of some ritual in the form of offerings. Mass conversion of people where people were forced to change their religion to continue to be a part of society. All of these practices are condemned by the law and lead to the conflicting relations.
For the sake of freedom, no state may allow unethical behavior, nor is it attractive. Religion is aimed at the otherworldly prosperity of man, however regularly indecent acts have come about because of such strict practices. It is the obligation of the state to guarantee that such shameless action isn't allowed to thrive in the public eye under the capture of strict opportunity. In India, in the interest of public peace and order, the state has placed stringent regulations on the practice of religion
“Chapter XV of the Indian Penal Code declares certain religious acts are offensive if they tend to create breach of peace. Sections 295 to 298 of the Indian penal Code are more intended for keeping peace and protection of people against violence than for the protection of religion as such. Section 295 A specially limits the religious freedom of propagation by making it an offence to outrage the religious feelings of any class of citizens by acts incompatible with a civilized way of behavior. Under section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code, it has been declared a crime to promote, on grounds of religion, race, language, caste or community, enmity between different religious, racial or language groups.”