Explain the Fundamental Right-Right to Freedom of Religion(Article-25).

Explain the Fundamental Right-Right to Freedom of Religion(Article-25).

Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion.

May 25, 2019.

The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in part III of the Constitution of India from Articles 12 to 35. Part III of the Constitution is rightly described as the Magna Carta of India. It contains a very long and comprehensive list of ‘Justiciable’ Fundamental Rights. Article 25 says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.

The implications of these are (a) Freedom of conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mould his relation with God or Creatures in whatever way he desires. (b) Right to profess: Declaration of one’s religious beliefs and faith openly and freely. (c) Right to practice: Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies, and exhibition of beliefs and ideas. (d) Right to Propagate: Transmission and dissemination of one’s religious beliefs to others or exposition of the tenets of one’s religion. But, it does not include a right to convert another person to one’s own religion. Forcible conversions impinge on the ‘freedom of conscience’ guaranteed to all the persons alike.

From the above, it is clear that 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.

However, these rights are subject to public order, morality, health, and other provisions relating to fundamental rights. Further, the state is permitted to: (a) regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practices; and (b) provide for social welfare and reform or throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.

Article 25 also contains two explanations: one, wearing and carrying of Kirpans is to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion; and two, the Hindus, in this context, include Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists.

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