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India is multi-religious, multi-ethnic-and multi-cultural pluralist society. The unity in

diversity is the peculiarity and beauty of the Indian ethos. The Indian Constitution has its true
nature of producing a document of lasting value to preserve the composite culture and
promote the essence of the Indian polity. The Constitution through its preamble, fundamental
rights and direct principles have created a secular state based on the principal of equality and
non discrimination, striking a balance between the rights of the individuals and the duty and
commitment of testate to establish an egalitarian social order Pluralism is the keynotes of
Indian culture .The word Panthnirpekha, which has commonly been popularized as
Secularism, was inserted in the preamble by the 42nd Amendment Act 1976. Notwithstanding
the word Panthnirpekha was added in the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment, the concept of
secularism was very imbedded in our Constitutional philosophy The policy assured to the
people of India by the constitution is described in preamble as secular state This secularism is
our creed reflected in the composite cultural heritage which is of essence in a pluralist
society, wherein the' cover value of the religion is the common thread which binds the
If we analyses the basic notion of Indian society, polity and living testament of Indian
Constitution we find following realities of secular structure in Indian way of life been provide
and protected.
1. Equality of Status and of Opportunity---- In the Secular, socialist, democratic republic,
every citizen has equality of status and of opportunity to promote among the people dignity
of the individual unity and integrity of the nation transcending them from caste, sectional,
religious barriers, fastening fraternity among them in an integrated India.
2. People's Faith in Presentation and Continuity---- The Constitution of India as indicated by
the preamble is the reaffirmation of the people's faith in presentation and continuity of the
composite cultural heritage, secularism is embedded in the Indian ethos. Sarva Dharam
Sambhav is the creed enshrined in the Indian polity. The meaning of the Indian secularism
was indicated by the supreme court in Dr. M. Ismail Farauqui's a case.
3. Unification of Multiple Religious------ The Secularism, stand for a complex interpretative
process in which there is transcendence of religion and yet there is a unification of multiple
religious. It is a bridge between religion in a multi religious society to cross over the barriers
of their diversity. Secularism in the positive sense is the corns tone of a forward looking
society which our constitution endeavours to establish. It is only possible basis of a uniform
and durable national identity in a multi religious and socially.
4. Harmonious and Peaceful Living---. Secularism is a fruitful means for conflict resolution
and Harmonious/ peaceful living. Which provides a sense of security to the followers of all
religions and ensure full civil liberties, Constitutional rights and equal opportunities,
therefore, it prove a meeting point for all member of different religions to promote rational
approach to life and society and would establish national composite and cosmopolitan culture
and way of life.

5. Socio-Economic-Democratic Polity-- With the advancement of Constitutional philosophy

of social and economic democracy in a democratic policy to all citizens unequal footing.
Secularism has been held to be one of the basic features of the Constitution Secularism is a
basic structure and the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered in exercise of the
amending powers conferred by the Art.368 of the Constitution. Thus, the nature of polity
promised in the preamble is incapable of alteration even in exercise of the power to amend
the Constitution.
6. Improve Excellence, Equal Status and Dignity ----The emphasis of secular structure of
constitution therefore, is on a citizen to improve excellence and equal status and dignity of
person with the advancement of human right and Constitutional philosophy of social and
economic democracy in a democratic policy to the entire citizen on equal footing. Unless free
mobility of the people is allowed transcending sectional, casts, religious or regional barriers,
establishment of secular socialist order becomes difficult.
7 Freedom of Consciousness----- Secularism in India does not mean irreligion. It means
respect for all faiths and religions. The state does not identify itself with any religion. Indian
Constitution denotes freedom of worship and freedom of consciousness. Art. 25 to 28 confer
rights relating to freedom of religions not only on citizens but on all persons in India. India
being a secular there is no state or preferred religion as such and all religious groups enjoy
the same constitutional protection without any favour or discrimination.
8. No State Religion---- The concept of secularism has not been well defined anywhere in the
Constitution of India. It is assumed that the term 'secularism' means there would be no state
religion and the state would neither make favour of any religion, nor protect any religion. It
would be impartial in the all matters of the religion. It is fact that secularism was not the
original verdict of the Constitution. Although freedom of religion is already guaranteed as
one of the fundamental right in part 2 of the India Constitution. Does the concept of religion
as fundamental right mean the state secularism? It is needed to know the difference between
faith and religion. Moreover a faith in a practical sense means a cultured or a spiritual living
in a religion but not religion itself. But the liberal notion of the religion is a thing which is
adopted by our spirit. This is the reason why secularism seems to be failed to respect the
pluralist and tolerant tradition that existed in India society for thousand years. Now it has
become the ideology imposed upon people who never wanted to separate religion from their
daily lives.
9. Tolerance in the Various Faith ----- The religious tolerance can only be built by explaining
the philosophy and the ideology of tolerance in the various faiths that have existed in premodern India. This is the brooding spirit permeating through the Constitution of India itself.
Now it is high time to approach in reconciling diverse practice, customs and tradition of the
marriages as one of the means for social and national unity and integrity and establishment of
Indian culture for harmony, amity and self respect to the individuals. The inter-caste intersect, inter-religious marriages from inter-region and the purposive interpretation would
definitely pave-way to establish secularism and secular state. Inter caste marriages and
adoption are two important social institutions through which secularism would find its fruitful

and solid base for an egalitarian social order under the Constitution. Therefore, due
recognition should be accorded for social mobility and integration and accordingly its
recognition must be upheld as valid law.


Social order and polity are inter-dependent process of reality. Social order is a way of life
and mirror of civilization which reflects social movements and different stages of
development of human spirit. In which (Dharma) the Religion in each civilization has
indicated about the faith of human beings in absolute values and a way of life to realize them.
Religious faith is continuously providing the passion to preserve in the way of life and if it
declines, obedience degenerates into habit and habit slowly withers way.
(a) Therefore laws, customs, conventions and fashions etc. are not the only means of social
control but the religion and morality also formulate and shape the human behaviour. Religion
and morality are the most influential forces of social control as well as the most effective
guides of the human behaviour.
(b) The social life of a man in addition of its economics, political, philosophical, scientific
and other aspects, has also religious aspects.
(c) Religion is the major concern of man. Man is always having religious quest which makes
him able to become a restless creature even beyond the satisfaction of his physical needs.
(d) Religion revolves around mans faith in the supernatural forces. Religion is concrete
experience which is associated with emotions, especially with fear, awe or reverence.
(e)Many societies have a wide range of institutions connected with religion and a body of
special officials, with forms or worship, ceremonies, sacred objects titles, pilgrimages, and
the like.
Looking at the definition of religion by Ogburn, 1 "Religion is an attitude towards super
human power, it may be submitted that religion explains the relation of man with god and
also elaborate rules of conduct."2 Further Maxmuller3 defines, "Religion as a mental faculty
or disposition which enables man to apprehend the infinite." 4 Maxmuller has attempted to
define religion as a matter of belief in supernatural forces. Man believes that he is at the
mercy of the supernatural forces and shows his subordination to them by means of prayers,
hymns, and other acts, man believes that his disrespect and negligence towards religion
would bring disaster so he engaged in endless endeavour to adjust himself with the
supernatural. He attempts to do only the acts which are righteous and sacred to please the


supernatural. Behaving in accordance with the norms laid down by religion is righteous and
going against them is sinful
The same approach can also be seen in the views expressed by the supporters of functional
theory. According to Kingslay Davis,5 Religion is the part of society. It is common to the
group; its beliefs and practices are acquired by each individual as a member of the group. The
worship of Gods is a public matter supported by the community and performed for communal
purposes. The other supporters of functional theory also confirm the same view that religion
is a universal, permanent, pervasive and perennial institution and it has a vital function in
maintaining the social system as a whole.6
The theory of secularism and a secular state is neither supposed to compel its citizens to
adopt a particular religion nor it can give preferential treatment to the followers of particular
religion. Secularism eliminates God from the matters of the state.
The Preamble to the Constitution of India signifies that India is a secular state. The Preamble
reflects the way of life adopted by Indian citizens for themselves after independence. In fact
every civilization has also been a mirror of way of life as well as reflecting movement of
human spirit. Religion in each civilization has indicated about the faith of human beings in
absolute values and a way of life to realize them. India is a secular country. The term
secular denotes the threefold relationship among man, state and religion.



"The secular State is the State which guarantees individual and corporate freedom of religion,
deals with the individual as a citizen irrespective of his religion, is not constitutionally
connected to a particular religion, nor does it seek to promote or interfere with religion."7
There are three major aspects of secularism which has to be understand while analyzing the
functional realities based in the form of inter-related relationships as:
(1) Positive Freedom of Religion or Religion and Individual Relations.
(2) Negative Freedom of Religion or Individual and State Relations.
(3) Natural Freedom of Religion or State and Religion Relations.

These relations can be comprehensively elaborate by this triangle. This relationship between
Religion, State and Individual Relationship or Positive, Negative and Natural freedom of
state relationship. These three associates are the three sides of a tri-angle, touching each other
necessarily at three points and creating their mutually related angles. These three sets of
angular relationship contain the total of religious freedom available in a society.
(1) Positive Freedom of Religion or Religion and Individual Relations -----This relation
contains positive freedom of religion which implies reasonable unrestrained liberty of
believing & practicing ones religion. In other words, every person should be free to follow
any religion, and to act upon its teachings and reject all other without any interference from
the state. Religious freedom is the soul of principle of liberty enshrined in the Preamble to the
Constitution of India.
One of the basic civil liberties of an individual is the liberty of his mind and his conscience.
Preservation of liberty of the mind, conscience and thought being the greatest liberty alone
can make possible and meaningful other liberties. If the mind and conscience of human is in
chain, all the other liberties would become meaningless. A free mind and a free conscience,
therefore is the essential, integral and indispensable foundation of all other civil liberties.
The Constitution of India, being the supreme law of the nation recognizes the religious liberty
of both the individuals as well as associations of individual united by common beliefs,
practices & discipline. The freedom of religion may be defined under two aspects

(a) Individual Freedom of Religion

(b) Collective Freedom of Religion.
(a) Individual Freedom of Religion- The Constitution of India recognizes the freedom to
profess, practice and propagate the religion under Article 25. Part (1) of Article 25 secures to
every freedom of conscience: and the right to (i) profess religion; (ii) practice religion; and
(iii) propagate religion. The term religion has not defined in the constitution but the
meaning given by the Supreme Court of India to the religion can be referred here, the
Supreme Court in the case of Commissioner, H.R.E. v.. L.T. Swammiar8 held:
Religion is a matter of faith with individuals or communities and it is not necessarily theistic.
A religion has its basis in a system of beliefs or doctrines, which are regarded by those who
profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well being. A religion may not only lay
down a code of ethnical rules for its followers to accept, it might prescribe rituals and
observances, ceremonies and modes of worship, which are regarded as integral parts of
religion and these forms and observance might extend even to matters of food and dress.
The freedom of religion guaranteed under Indian constitution is not confined to its citizens
but extends to all persons including aliens. This point was underlined by the Supreme Court
in Rati Lal Panchand v. State of Bombay 9 as it is very important because substantial number
of foreign Christian missionaries in India were engaged at that time in propagating their faith
among the adherents of other religions.
The Constitution thus declares that every person has a fundamental right not only to hold
whatever religious belief commend themselves to his judgments, but also to express his
beliefs in such overt acts, as are prescribed by his religion and propagate its tenets among
others. The exercise of this right is, however subject to public order, morality and public
health. Here the constitution succinctly expresses the limitations on religious liberty that has
been evolved by judicial pronouncements in the United States and Australia. In fact, the
framers of the Indian constitution attempted to establish a delicate balance between essential
interference and impartial interference on the part of the state. They kept in consideration the
possibilities of arising out of circumstances in which the government may have to impose
restraints on the freedoms of individuals in collective interests.
Accordingly Article 25 (2)10 provides broad sweeping power of interference to the state in
religious matters. This Article imposes drastic limitations on the rights guaranteed under
Article 25(1)11 and reflects the peculiar needs of Indian society. It is important to mention
here that law providing for the very extensive supervision by the state about temple
administration has been enacted by virtue of this provision. Here it would not be out place to

state that the extensive modification Hindu personal law (marriage, divorce, adoption,
succession etc.) has been effected by legislation based on the provision permitting measures
of social welfare and social reform. There is an interesting case on the validity of the Bombay
Prevention of Hindu Bigamous Marriages Act of 1946, where the validity was upheld by the
Bombay High Court. Chief Justice Chagla , delivered his judgment as follows: it is only with
very considerable hesitation that I would like to speak about Hindu religion, but it is rather
difficult to accept the proposition that polygamy is an integral part of Hindu religion. It is
perfectly true that Hindu religion recognizes the necessity of a son for religious efficacy and
spiritual salvation. That same religion also recognizes the institution of adoption. Therefore
the Hindu religion provides for the continuation of the line of a Hindu male within the
framework of monogamy.
The learned judge went on to argue, that even assuming that polygamy is a recognized
institution according to Hindu religious practice, the right of the state to enact this legislation
could not be disputed. The enforcement of monogamy among Hindu is a measure of social
reform which the state is empowered to legislate by Article 25 (2) (b) notwithstanding the
fact that it may interfere with the right of a citizen freely to profess, practice and propagate
The same constitutional provision permits legislation opening Hindu religious institutions of
a public character to all classes and sections of India. Harijan temple entry laws have been
enacted by many of the state legislatures. The Central Unsociability (Offences) Act of 1955
provides that any attempt to prevent Harijans from exercising their right to enter the temple is
punishable with imprisonment or fine or with both. Therefore it must be clear that a secular
civil law is equally applicable to all Indian citizens.
(b) Collective Freedom of Religion- Religious denominations as well as individuals have
certain important rights spelt out under Article 26. 12 The term religious denomination has
not been defined under the Constitution. The Honble Supreme Court has accepted the
definition given in Oxford Dictionary that defines as a collection of individuals classed
together under the same name a religious sect of body having a common faith and
organization and designated by a distinctive name. The Supreme Court in number of cases
held that Arya Smaj, Anandmarga, Vaishanave, The followers of Madhawacharya and other
religious teachers, though not separate religions, yet these are separate religious
denomination and enjoys the protection under Article 26 of the Constitution.
The right under Article 26(a) is a group right and is available to every religious denomination.
Clause (b) of Article 26 guarantees to every religious denomination the right to manage its
own affairs in matters of religion. The expression matters of religion includes religious
practices, rites and ceremonies essential for the practicing of religion. An important case that
involved the right of a religious denomination to manage its own affairs in matters of religion

was Venkataramana Devaru v. Stae of Mysore.13 In this matter, Venkatramana temple was
belonging to the Gowda Saraswath Brahman Community. The Madras Temple Entry
Authorization Act, supported by Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution, threw open all Hindu
public temples in the state to Harijans. The trustees of this denominational temple refused
admission to Harijans on the ground that the caste of the prospective worshipper was a
relevant matter of religion according to scriptural authority, and that under Article 26(b) of
the Constitution they had the right to manage their own affairs in matters of religion. The
Supreme Court admitted that this was a matter of religion, but when it faces conflict with
Article 25(2) (b), it approved a compromise arrangement heavily weighted in favour of rights
of Harijans and a token concession to the right of a religious denomination to exercise
internal autonomy
Further Article 26(c) and (d) recognize the right of a religious denomination to own, acquire
and administer movable and immovable property in accordance with law. However it was
held in Surya Pal Singh v. State of U.P.14 that this guarantee did not imply that such property
was not liable to compulsory acquisition under the U.P. Abolition of Zamindari Act. Similarly
in Orissa, land reforms resulted in the expropriation of a village and surrounding agricultural
land dedicated to the maintenance of a Hindu deity. Since compensation was paid, the High
Court held that there was only a change in the form of the property.

Article 30 deals with another aspect of collective freedom of religion: The object behind
Article 29 & 30 is the recognition and preservation of the different types of people, with
diverse languages and different beliefs, which constitute the essence of secularism in India.
(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and
administer educational institutions of their choice.
(2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any
educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether
based on religion or language.
The object behind Article 29 & 30 is the recognition and preservation of the different types of
people, with diverse languages and different beliefs, which constitute the essence of
secularism in India.
(2) Negative Freedom of Religion or Individual and State Relations--The second angular
relation reflects the Negative Freedom of Religion or Individual and State Relations
relationship between the state and individual. It contains negative freedom of religion. By
negative freedom of religion mean absence of restrains, discriminations, liabilities and
disabilities which a citizen might have been otherwise subject to.

This component of secular state, the concept of citizenship is based on the idea that the
individual, not the group is the basic unit. The individual is confronted by the state which
imposes duties and responsibilities upon him; in return the state guarantees rights and grants
privileges to the individual. The sum of these individual- state relationships constitutes the
meaning of citizenship. There are numbers of provisions dealing with citizens relations with
state in social spheres. The provisions based on non discrimination in political functions have
also been dealt with under the Constitution
(3) Natural Freedom of Religion or State and Religion Relations---The third angular relations
which emanates from the relationship between the state and its religion. It contains neutral
freedom of religion. It implies that state has no religion of its own and attitude of
indifference towards all the religions by the state.
India is a secular state. The idea of secularism is one of the basic features of the Indian
constitution. The Supreme Court in St. Xaviers College v. State of Gujarat 15 observed, India
is a secular state, secularism eliminates god from the matter of the state affairs, and ensures
that none shall be discriminated against on the ground of religion.
Separation of state and religion is the third principle of secular state that preserves the
integrity of the other two relationships, freedom of religion and citizenship. Here one must be
conscious about the relationship of the religion and the state. The institution of religion came
in existence prior to state. It came into being to establish a social order in ancient times
because at that time there was neither any law nor any institution like state was in existence.
The main purpose of institution of religion was to regulate the activities of individual on the
basis of religion and religion was the supreme law. The institution of state came too much
later- so in present scenario, the society is based on the delicate balance maintained between
both of these institutions namely state and religion. Both are independent in their spheres and
it must be so, Because centralization of powers in one agency would lead to anarchism. Once
the principle of separation of state and religion is abandoned, the way is open for state
interference in the individuals religions liberty, and for state discrimination against him if he
happens to dissent from the official creed.
Earlier religion was considered superior to state, because it played an important role in
regulating actions of human beings and it was the way for human beings towards the god but
in present scenario, it must be kept in mind that the first role is being played by the state and
as regards to the relation of individual with god, the domain is totally free. The religion has
become subordinate in these days and the state is the main unit of the society. So there are
number of important areas in which state interference in religious matter is permitted by the



Seven features of Indian secularism make it distinctive.

(I)The first is its multi-value character. Indian secularism more explicitly registers ties with
values forgotten by western conceptions -for example, peace between communities - and
interprets liberty and equality both individualistically and non-individualistically. It has a
place for the rights of individuals to profess their religious beliefs but also the right of
religious communities to establish and maintain educational institutions crucial for the
survival and sustenance of their religious traditions
(II)Second, because it was born in a deeply multi-religious society, it is concerned as much
with inter-religious as intra-religious domination. Although community-specific political
rights (special representation rights for religious minorities such as Muslims) were withheld
for contextual reasons, the model allows conceptual space for this.
(III)Third, it is committed to the idea of principled distance: poles apart from one-sided
exclusion, mutual exclusion, strict neutrality or equidistance.
(IV)Fourth, it admits a distinction between depolarization and depoliticization as well
between different kinds of depoliticization. Because it is not hostile to the public presence of
religion, it aims to depolarize it. It accepts the importance of one form of depoliticization of
religion, namely the first and second-level disconnection of state from religion but the thirdlevel depoliticization of religion is accepted on purely contextual grounds.
(V)Fifth, it is combines active hostility to some aspects of religion (a ban on unsociability
and a commitment to make religiously grounded personal laws more gender-just) with active
respect for its other dimensions (religious groups are officially recognized, state-aid is
available non-preferentially to educational institutions run by religious communities, there is
no blanket exclusion of religion as mandated by western liberalism). This is a direct
consequence of its commitment to multiple values and principled distance. The Indian model
accepts the view that critique is consistent with respect, that one does have to choose between
hostility and respectful indifference. In this sense, it inherits the tradition of the great Indian

religious reformers who tried to change their religions precisely because it meant so much to
(VI)Sixth, it is committed to a model of moral reasoning that is highly contextual and opens
up the possibility of different societies working out their own secularisms. In short, it opens
out the possibility of multiple secularism
(VII) Seventh, it breaks out of the rigid interpretative grid that divides our social world into
the western modern and traditional, indigenous non-western. Indian secularism is modern but
departs significantly from mainstream conceptions of western secularism

Looking at the various constitutional provisions, one can say that India is a secular state. The
ideals of secular state have clearly been embodied under the Indian Constitution and the
provisions are being implemented in substantial measure. But the circumstances after
independence have posed a challenge before secularism of India for a number of times.
Sometimes it is also alleged that:
(a) By Uniform Civil Code, the existence of minorities in India is in danger or it is an assault
on the identity of minorities.
(b) India being still a traditional society that contains not one, but many traditions owing their
origin in part to the different religions that exist here.
(c) While India carries with it many traditions it has managed to retain the secular character
of its polity,
(d) While in many countries especially from the third world, a secular authority has crumbled
in face of conflicting traditions.


An explicit goal of the Indian Constitution is to ensure "equality of status and opportunity"
among all citizens. Article 15 (1) maintains that "The State shall not discriminate against any
citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them."
Discrimination on the basis of "religion" and "caste" is then declared to be illegal in Article
15. Yet "Hinduism," as it has been variously defined in the courts and by certain scholars of
Indian Constitution is also containing various provisions pertaining to religious freedom like
Article 25 talks about Freedom of Conscience and free profession, practice and propagation
of religion but these freedoms given in the Constitution are not absolute and they are given
subject to certain restriction like Public Order, Morality and Health.
Article 26 also talks about Freedom to manage religious affairs and similarly Article 27, 16
Article 28,17 Article 2918 and Article 3019 talks about religious instruction or religious
worships in educational institutions and protection of minorities interests. If we see
meticulously in the Constitution then we will be able analyze that one of the better and
effective provision relating to religion and protection of minorities are enshrined in the
Indian Concept of Secularism is much better and wider concept than the Western Concept of
Secularism. The Constitution provides way of life and it leads to formation of egalitarian


If we discuss and analyses the trends of the decisions given by the Honble Supreme Court
of India, which is regarded as the guardian of constitutionalism in India, we can very well
understand the realities which existed regarding present functional status of secularism in
The Honble Supreme Court of India in Sardar Taheruddin Syedna Saheb v. State of
Bombay,20 for the first time explained the concept of secularism wherein Ayyangar, J.,
"Articles 25 and 26 embody the principle of religious toleration that has been the
characteristic feature of Indian civilization from the start of history. The instances and periods
when this feature was absent being merely temporary aberrations. Besides, they serve to
emphasize the secular nature of the Indian democracy which the founding fathers considered
to be the very basis of the Constitution."

Also in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala21, the Constitutional Bench of the Honble
Supreme Court reiterated that secularism was a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
In the case of ST. Xavier College V State of Gujarat22, The Supreme Court said that the State
can not have its own religion and it should treat all religion equally
In Bijoe Emanuel Case,23 The Supreme Court has said nobody can be compelled to sing a
National Anthem if it is against the tenants of their religion but proper respect should be
given to the national Anthem.
In the case of Ismail Faouque,24 The State can acquire property belonging to any religion for
the purpose of maintenance of public order.
(6) In the case of Lakhmindra Supreme Court firstly defined the concept of religion which
was later on broadened in the case of S.R Bommai.

20 AIR 1962 SC 853, 871

21 (1973) 4 SCC 225

(7)This view crystallized in the landmark case of S.R. Bommai v. Union of India25. In fact, the
Judges in S.R. Bommais case went on to say that the concept of secularism in the Indian
Constitution is in broad agreement with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

(4)However, within a year the Honble Supreme Court in Ismael Faruqui v. Union of India26
started diluting the active, positive concept of secularism based on scientific thinking it had
advocated in the S.R Bommais case.

(8) Subsequently, in the infamous Ram Janambhoomi case, the Honble Supreme Court
justified its concept of secularism by quoting extensively from Indian scriptures. Verma, J. (as
he then was) (speaking for Venkatachaliah, C.J. and Ray, J.) quoted from the Yajur Veda,
Atharva Veda and Rig Veda to justify its concept of secularism: 'Sarwa Dharma Sambhava',
i.e., tolerance of all religions. This reasoning seemed to be odd wherein the Honble Supreme
Court was justifying secularism by religious scriptures.
(9)The Supreme Court seemed to have rejected the western concept of secularism based on
separation of the Church and the State as explained in the earlier verdict of S.R. Bommai and
went back to equating secularism with tolerance.
(10) The Court also noted that the State has the power to take over any religious place
including a mosque. Though dissenting, Bharucha, J., supported the concept of absolute,
positive and active secularism, more in tune with that spelt out in S.R. Bommai. Yet even he
accepted that secularism in India exists because of the tolerance of the Hindus who are the
majority religion. However, though in some of the recent judgments the Honble Supreme
Court has again shifted from the confusing interpretation of Secularism. But this again
highlights an important issue that the secular character of India has in fact received a setback
and the issue of Secularism in India today is not simple especially in light of the growing
religious fundamentalism which owes its revival to the failure of the government moreover,
the intrusion of religious passions and caste loyalties into Indian politics casts serious doubts
over the claim of India to be a secular and theocratic state.
India is neither anti-religion nor suggests separation of State and religion. It is not based upon
the religion but it is based on equal respect to all religion. Secularism is not anti-God and it
treats alike the devout, the agnostic and the atheist. It eliminates God from the matters of
State and ensures that no one shall be discriminated against on the grounds of the religion. All
the Secular State means that Parliament shall not be competent to impose any particular
religion on the rest of the people. Secularism is a system of social ethic based upon a doctrine
25 (1994) 3 SCC 1
26 (1994) 6 SCC 360

that ethical standards and conduct should be determined exclusively with reference to the
present life and social well being without reference to the religion. Pluralism is keystone of
Indian culture and religious tolerance is the bedrock of Indian Secularism.
The State shall not have any religion that do not mean that it should be irreligious. The State
should treat all religion equal and in India the State is never considered as irreligious or
atheist State. The State should protect all religion and interfere with none. Indian Concept of
Secularism is different from the western Secularism. In India State is neutral in the internal
religious matters and similar treatment is extended to mosque, temple, or church etc.Indian
secularism, serves to strengthen the democratic and representative credentials of India's
political system while serving ruling caste and class interests. The Indian version of
secularism is based on a communally compartmentalized vision of India, where various
communities enjoying equal status cooperate, but where, in reality, the majority and minority
in Indian Society enjoy a special status. It has been found that various Indian communities
can cooperate only when working for social change and that cooperation in other
circumstances is difficult. Secularism in India faces a problematic future. The common
Western view of secularism as little more than anti-religious feeling does not apply in India
where the sacred-secular dichotomy is not generally accepted. This may explain why
secularism, though written into the Constitution at the instigation of Jawaharlal Nehru,
appears to be threatened by Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Sikh conflicts. Re-evaluation of the
state's role in Indian society, clarification of the meaning of secularism in the Constitution
and educational reform are needed to prevent the dissolution of India.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, once warned us "The Fascism will come to India, in the form of
communalism," Today ,religious and communal violence are growing day by day in India.
The rise of militancy in different parts of the country and their characteristics of operation are
the signpost of the fascist forces. Communal violence's base of race, tribe, caste and religions
is the neo face of fascism. It is the fascism between religious majority and minority, seen in
Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984, Anti-Christian Riots of 1998 in Gujarat, the Gujarat Carnage of
2002, a black Christmas episode of 2007 in Orissa and over 4000 recorded attacks on Indian
Christians in 2008.
The communal violent forces have selected attacking not only religious community but also
targeting to Dalits and tribes for example, Tribal Christians of the Dang district of Gujarat,
Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh, and Kandhamal of Orissa are major victims of the organized. The
episode of black Christmas in the Kandhamal district of Orissa in 2007 and the ongoing
attack in different parts of the country are the latest signposts of the attack on Indian
secularism and democracy. In black Christmas, the media reported nine Christians killed,
over 90 churches and Christian institutions and over 700 Christian homes burnt and over
7000 lives affected. The economic system of tribal Christians was destroyed to ashes.The
ongoing and uncontrolled communal violence on Christians has left over 30 deaths, over 100
churches, 300 Christian villages, 4000 Christian homes burnt down and 50000 Dalit
Christians made refugees in forest.

These fundamentalist or as commonly been called neo-fascist tactics often go untold and
unreported. No political party and very few human rights agencies have tried to identify these
signposts of attacking Indian secularism and democracy. What can be said about the steps that
should be taken to stop the rise of communalism and the attacks on Indian secularism and
democracy? The legislators are introducing bills to curb the force, fraud and fraudulent
conversion while saffron sponsored force (re)conversion is never considered as crime.
To conclude, The preamble of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental
rights of every Indian citizen, will be under threat, if the rise of communalism and attacks on
Indian secularism and democracy are left uncontrolled. Time is now for experts to monitor
and identify the signpost. It may be submitted that it is beyond the scope of this paper to
outline the implications of the conceptual failings of secularism in India; nonetheless we must
attempt to raise issues and questions for continuing study of the problem. Clearly the
judiciary in India is a significant site where contests under the banner of secularism have
been taking place over the last fifty and odd year. Though the judiciary is trying to strike the
balance in a harmonious way but the people of India should not forget the dream of framers
of the constitution and the ancient philosophy of Sarva Dharma Sambhavah

---------------------------* Resource Lecture delivered in a UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Secularism in India
, organized by the Department of Political Science, Jijamata Mahavidyalaya, Buldana, (MS),
September 25th and 26th, 2009.