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Religious freedom in India UPSC NOTE


  • The push for a UCC, seen by some communities as an infringement on personal laws and religious rights, is ongoing while a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has yet to decide the "ambit and scope" of religious freedom itself.

  • Three years ago, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court framed seven questions on religious freedom, rights, and practices in the Sabarimala case, but these questions remain unanswered.

  • The first question in the case pertains to the scope and ambit of the right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution, which is still pending before the court. 

  • Currently, only two out of the nine judges are serving in the Supreme Court.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated for a UCC, highlighting discriminatory practices against women in certain religious communities' personal laws. 

  • This comes after the 22nd Law Commission of India initiated a fresh debate on the common law through a public notice.

  • The 21st Law Commission of India's 2018 consultation paper, often overlooked, recommends striking a balance between treating all religions equally and preserving religious diversity by codifying personal laws.

  • The paper advises against compromising cultural diversity to the extent that it becomes a threat to the nation's territorial integrity

  • It emphasizes that recognition of differences does not imply discrimination but rather indicates a robust democracy.

  • The Commission suggests preserving the diversity of personal laws while ensuring they align with fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution

  • To achieve this, it recommends codifying family-related personal laws as much as possible and amending any inequalities that exist.

  • The Commission's view aligns with Justice D.Y. Chandrachud's separate opinion in 2018, countering the 1951 judgment in State of Bombay versus Narasu Appa Mali

  • The earlier judgment held that personal law was exempt from constitutional scrutiny, while Justice Chandrachud argued for the supremacy of the Constitution.

  • The paper emphasizes that the term "secularism" has meaning only if differences—whether social, religious, or cultural—are not overshadowed by the louder voice of the majority.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Religious freedom in India UPSC NOTE
Religious freedom in India UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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