March 6, 2023

 Law and religion: the prevalence of constitution over all

This article has been written by Ms. Nidhisha Alajangi, a 2nd year BBA LL.B Student from SVKM Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bengaluru.


Religion is the foundation of human existence because it is both a body of beliefs and a way of life; adherents to a given faith practise a particular set of tenets in how they make a living, and this moral obligation to behave in a certain way brings religion within the purview of law, making it a factor in whether or not an individual must obey or disobey the norms set by a given government. As the idea of a state or democracy did not exist when individuals were obliged to do religious duties and could claim religious privileges under the law, it is clear that the law and religion are intricately entwined with one another. In this regard, religion played an essential role in the establishment of order and law in premodern communities all throughout the globe.


The very heart and fundamental structure of religious practise , the meaning of the term “secularism.”. Before trying to make any conclusions regarding the relationship between religion and secularism, it is essential to have a solid understanding of each of these concepts individually.The Indian Constitution safeguards a wide range of individual rights, one of which is the right to freely practise any religion of one’s choosing. The fact that India is a secular nation ensures that all of its residents have the right to religious freedom, often known as the freedom to practise any religion of their choosing. The Constitution of India grants all citizens the unrestricted freedom to practise any of the several faiths that are practised in the nation. This constitutional provision ensures that every individual retains the right to freely and publicly discuss their religious ideas with others. It is the responsibility of the government of India to put a stop to any religious intolerance that may surface inside the nation. Articles 25, 26, 27, and 28 of the Indian Constitution all make it clear that individuals have the right to freely practise their religion without interference.

The Indian Constitution guarantees a significant number of basic liberties for its citizens. The provisions at question are outlined in Articles 12 through 35 of Part III of the Constitution. Articles 25 and 26 are the two provisions that are considered to be the most significant in terms of protecting religious freedom. In accordance with Article 25, every individual possesses the same rights to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise, and propagate any religion of their choosing, provided that they do not violate public order, public morality, or public health, as well as the other provisions of this Part. Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law that is already in place or prevent the state from making any law that: 

(a) regulates or restricts any economic, financial, political, or other secular activity that may be associated with religious practise; 

(b) provides for social welfare and reform, or the opening of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus; or

 (c) provides for social welfare and reform, or the opening of Islamic religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections.

It is stated in Article 26 that any religious group or sect has the right to do the following things: (a)found and maintain organisations for religious and charitable purposes; (b)control its own internal religious affairs; (c)own and acquire movable and immovable property; and (d)administrate such property in accordance with the law.

In a similar manner, Article 26 lays forth the parameters for how the State and religious liberty should interact in the workplace. Each religious organisation has the right to;

(a) form and support organisations for religious and charitable activities;

 (b) handle its own religious affairs;

 (c) own and acquire movable and immovable property; and

 (d) administer such property in accordance with the law,

 provided that doing so does not violate public order, morality, or health. These rights are guaranteed to religious organisations by the United States Constitution. The autonomy of any religious denomination or sect is protected by clause (b) of Article 26, and clause (d) assures that religious organisations are able to administer their property (institutions) in line with the law. The Indian government ratified Article 118 of the Constitution, which stipulates that people are free to practise whichever religion they want. The manner in which Clauses (b) and (d) of Article 26 are phrased makes it abundantly clear that a denomination’s authority to govern its religious affairs is distinct from its right to regulate its property. This distinction is made explicit in the article.

The case of Shri Lakshmindra Tirtha Swamiar of Shri Shirur Matt. v. Commissioner of Hindu Religious Endowments in Madras; The Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act 1951 is the piece of legislation that is responsible for laying the legal framework for the dispute that surrounds Shri Shirur matt. According to the preamble of the Act, its primary objective was to “revise and consolidate” the rules that govern the administration of Hindu charitable and religious organisations in Madras, as well as their assets. The Act addresses not just several areas of the administration and finance of Hindu religious organisations but also the state’s general participation in such affairs as well. In accordance with the provisions of Section 20 of the Act, the Commissioner was granted extensive discretionary power over the management of Hindu religious assets. The Commissioner has the authority to issue whatever orders he thinks appropriate for the effective management of these religious assets in accordance with his judgement. In order to ensure that the money from these endowments was put to good use, it was necessary for him to keep an eye on how the money was being spent. A permission to enter the premises of any religious institution or other place of worship for the purpose of exercising any power granted or discharging any obligation imposed by or under the Act, provided that the officer exercising such power was a Hindu, was granted by Section 21 of the Act. This permission was granted so that the officer could exercise any power granted or fulfil any obligation imposed by or under the Act.

In the legal proceeding known as Davis v. Benson, which took place in the United States, it was argued that “that the term “religion” refers to a person’s beliefs about his or her relationship with God, as well as the obligations to revere His Being and character, and to submit to His will, that these beliefs entail. that the term “religion” refers to the belief that the term “religion” refers to a person’s beliefs about his or her relationship with God. While this is not the case, some people get it confused with the religious rites practised by some cults, which is not the case.” According to our assessment, the following definition is not exact nor appropriate. Articles 25 and 26 of our Constitution are largely modelled after Article 44(2) of the Irish Constitution, and there is reason for us to be very concerned that the above definition of “religion” was present in the thoughts of those who drafted our Constitution when they wrote those articles. There is no universal need that adherents of any religious system must have faith in a superior being. Buddhism and Jainism, two prominent Indian faiths, both deny the presence of a supernatural or intelligent initial cause in their respective cosmologies. While if the origins of a religion may be traced back to a set of ideas or doctrines that adherents of that religion consider to be beneficial to their emotional and mental health, it would be misleading to say that religion is nothing more than a theory or a belief.


Aishwarya Says:

Law students often face problems, which they cannot share with their friends and families. We have started a column on our website Student’s Corner. In this column we are talking to several law students about the challenges that they face. Students who are interested in participating in the same, can fill this Google Form.


The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems to

Join our  Whatsapp Group for latest Job Opening

Related articles