Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

People are free to choose religion: Supreme Court


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 25

Mains level : Not Much

The Supreme Court has said people are free to choose their own religion and lashed out at a PIL claiming that there is mass religious conversion happening across the country.

Right to freedom of Religion

Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all persons in India. It provides that all persons in India, subject to public order, morality, health, and other provisions:

  • Are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, and
  • Have the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.

It further provides that this article shall not affect any existing law and shall not prevent the state from making any law relating to:

  • Regulation or restriction of any economic, financial, political, or secular activity associated with religious practice.
  • Providing social welfare and reform.
  • Opening of Hindu religious institutions of public character for all the classes and sections of the Hindus.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • Instead, a Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman said people have a right under the Constitution to profess, practise and propagate religion.
  • Justice Nariman said every person is the final judge of their own choice of religion or who their life partner should be. Courts cannot sit in judgment of a person’s choice of religion or a life partner.
  • Religious faith is a part of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • Justice Nariman reminded Mr Upadhyay of the Constitution Bench judgment which upheld inviolability of the right to privacy, equating it with the rights to life, dignity and liberty.
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