How secularism has been enshrined in the Indian Constitution?
India is country of religions. There exist multifarious religious groups in the country but, in spite of this, the Constitution stands for a secular state of India. There is no official religion in India. ‘Secularism’ has been inserted in the Preamble after 42nd Amendment. The object of insertion was to spell out expressly the high ideas of secularism and the compulsive need to maintain the integrity of the nation which are subjected to considerable stress and strains, and vested interests have been trying to promote their selfish ends to the great detriment of the public good. Secularism pervades its provisions which give full opportunity to all persons to profess, practice and propagate religion of their choice. The constitution not only guarantees a person’s freedom for one who has no religion but it also scrupulously restrains the state from making and discrimination on the ground of religions. In Kesavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala, the Supreme Court held that secularism is one of the basic features of the Indian Constitution. The Court has further declared that secularism is a part of fundamental law and an unalienable segment of the basic structure of the country.
The most important components of secularism as enshrined in the Indian constitution are:-
- Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees right to equality;
- Article 15 and 16 prohibits any discrimination on the ground of religion, caste, etc
- Freedom of speech and expression and all other important freedoms for all the citizens are conferred under Article 19 and Article 21;
- Article 25 to Article 28 confers rights to practice religion;
- Fundamental duty of the state to enact uniform civil laws treating all the citizens as equal is laid down under Article 44 of the Indian Constitution.