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In today’s article, we will discuss the Right to Religion guaranteed under articles 25-28 and gain an understanding into Articles 17, 18, 23, 24, 29 and 30.
Note: Articles 19, 20, 21, 21A and 22 will be discussed in later articles.


Article 17 – Abolition of Untouchability:

Article 17 of the Indian Constitution is a pivotal provision that unequivocally abolishes untouchability in any form and prohibits its practice in any public or private sphere. Article 17 provides a legal framework for combating and eliminating untouchability, empowering the state to enact laws, punish perpetrators, and uplift marginalised communities. It reflects the transformative vision of the Constitution, aiming to create a society based on equality and fraternity, where every individual is treated with dignity and respect.

Article 18 – Abolition of Titles:

Article 18 prohibits the State from conferring titles, except military and academic distinctions. This means that individuals cannot be granted titles like “Sir,” “Raja,” or “Rai Bahadur” by the government. It aims to promote equality by preventing the creation of a class system based on titles, thereby promoting a society where individuals are valued for their merits and contributions rather than their inherited or conferred titles.

Article 23 – Prohibition of Traffic in Human Beings and Forced Labour:

Article 23 prohibits human trafficking and forced labour. It ensures that no person can be forced into any form of labour against their will. Practically, it protects individuals from exploitation and ensures their right to work under fair and just conditions.

Article 24 – Prohibition of Employment of Children in Factories, etc.:

Article 24 prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in factories, mines, or any hazardous employment. It safeguards the rights of children by ensuring their physical and mental well-being and protecting them from exploitation in the labour force.

Article 29 – Protection of Interests of Minorities:

Article 29 provides for the protection of the interests of minorities, including linguistic and cultural minorities. It ensures that minorities have the right to conserve their distinct language, script, or culture. This article safeguards the diversity of India’s cultural heritage by protecting minority rights.

Article 30 – Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions:

Article 30 grants religious and linguistic minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. It allows minorities to preserve and promote their culture and language through education. It ensures that the autonomy of minority communities is protected and guaranteed in managing their educational institutions.

These articles collectively contribute to the promotion of equality, protection of human rights, and preservation of diversity in Indian society. They serve as foundational principles for building a just and
inclusive society.

Right to Freedom of Religion:

Another aspect that we will discuss today is the Right to Freedom of Religion as provided under the Constitution of India. The Right to Freedom of Religion is provided under Articles 25 to 28.

Article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution collectively safeguard the Right to Freedom of Religion, ensuring individuals the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate their religion of choice.

Article 25 guarantees every person the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion, subject to public order, morality and health. Importantly, Article 25 ensures that individuals have the autonomy to follow their religious beliefs without any interference from the State or external authorities. It also allows individuals to engage in religious practices and rituals according to their faith, safeguarding their freedom of conscience and expression in matters of religion.

Article 25 further empowers the state to regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political, or secular activity associated with religious practices. Rights under Article 25 are not absolute and can be restricted on grounds such as public order, morality or health, ensuring that religious practices do not infringe upon the rights or well-being of others. Article 25 recognises the importance of social welfare and reform, allowing the state to enact laws that promote social welfare and bring about necessary reforms within religious communities. This provision enables the state to intervene in religious practices that may be detrimental to the welfare of individuals or society at large, ensuring that religious freedom is exercised responsibly and in harmony with the overall well-being of the populace.

On the other hand, Article 26 grants religious denominations the autonomy to manage their religious affairs, including establishing and maintaining institutions for religious and charitable purposes, managing properties, and administering rituals and ceremonies. Similar to Article 25, Article 26 does not provide absolute autonomy to religious denominations. It is subject to public order, morality, and health, ensuring that religious practices do not contravene these essential societal principles. Additionally, Article 26 does not confer the right to violate other fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, such as the right to equality and the right to life and personal liberty.

Article 27 of the Indian Constitution embodies the principle of secularism by prohibiting the levy of taxes for promoting or maintaining any particular religion. This article ensures that the State remains neutral in matters of religion and prevents the government from using public funds to favour or endorse any specific religious group or practice. It upholds the secular character of the Indian state and protects the freedom of individuals to practice their religion without state interference or financial coercion.

Article 28 further reinforces the secular ethos of the Indian Constitution by prohibiting religious instruction in educational institutions that are wholly maintained by state funds. It ensures that state-funded schools and colleges remain neutral in matters of religion, fostering an environment of inclusivity and diversity. Additionally, Article 28 safeguards the freedom of conscience of students attending these institutions by allowing them to abstain from religious instruction or worship without any compulsion.

Together, these articles uphold the principle of separation of religion from the State and guarantee individuals the right to practice their religion freely without interference from the government while ensuring that state institutions remain impartial and inclusive. They reflect the foundational values of secularism, religious freedom, and equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution. These articles play a crucial role in maintaining the pluralistic and harmonious fabric of Indian society by promoting religious tolerance, diversity, and individual autonomy.

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