Saturday, 28 May 2022

Freedom to choose no religion

 FREEDOM TO CHOOSE NO RELIGION

By P.Hema

The full concept and scope of religious freedom is that there are no restrictions upon the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of one’s conscience or upon the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion, save those imposed under the police power of the state and the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution. This means the right to worship god according to the dictates of one’s conscience. Freedom of conscience and religious belief cannot, however, be set up to avoid those duties which every citizen owes to the nation.

Though the freedom of conscience and religious belief are absolute, the right to act in exercise of a man’s freedom of conscience and freedom of religion cannot override public interest and morals of the society and in that view it is competent for the State or suppress such religious activities which are prejudicial to public interest.

Clause (1) of Article 25 of the Constitution of India is in two parts. The first part confers fundamental right to freedom of conscience. The second part confers a right on a citizen to freely profess, practice or propagate any religion. The term religion cannot be necessarily theistic. Apart from the freedom of conscience, there is a fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. 

Conclusion:

No authority which is a state within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India or any of its agency or instrumentality can infringe the fundamental right to freedom of conscience. Any individual in exercise of right of freedom of conscience is entitled to carry an opinion and express an opinion that he does not follow any religion or any religious tenet. 


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