Recollection of Insights for Diligent Christian Witness in India: A Study on the Freedom of Religion based on Article 25 of the Indian Constitution


Rev. Dr. Selvam Robertson
Recollection of Insights for Diligent Christian Witness in India:
A Study on the Freedom of Religion based on Article 25 of the Indian Constitution

Introduction
This paper attempts to recollect insights from the various Supreme Court interpretations of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution and to understand freedom of religion to bear diligent Christian witness. Detailed study of each case is an interesting research, but owing to our purpose I restricted myself to the verdict of cases as interpreted by eminent jurists. Anyone interested in detail may use the foot notes to trace the cases.
            Articles 25-28 of the Indian Constitution provide for secularism and “freedom of religion” and article 25 is often read with article 26. I, however, have decided to dwell only on the Article 25 to make it converse with us in some details, though for the purpose of clarity there may be references to article 26. The emphasis in Article 25 is on ‘the practice of religious freedom for individuals’[1] and “Article 26 deals with the right of a religious denomination or a section of a religious denomination.”[2]
         Article 25 comes under part III of the Indian Constitution under the heading “fundamental rights”. However, “the rights conferred by part III of the Constitution are not absolute. They are relative and subject to certain limitations which were considered necessary for the safety and security of the State.”[3] In other words ‘the right to freedom of religion is not an unqualified right’.[4]             The freedom of religion is ‘not only for Indian citizens but for all persons in India and to religious groups’.[5]
As all discussions on the freedom of religion, particularly based on Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, begin with a note on secularism, I too have done the same, though it was not my sole concern. My efforts to describe the salient aspects of Article 25, can facilitate a clear understanding for diligent witness in India.
I, to derive at this objective, have discussed the essential aspects of a secular state and the definition of religion as found in the Supreme Court judgments. Graphic but useful insights are highlighted to understand freedom of conscience, freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion. The expression ‘religious practice’ has gone through many lengthy legal considerations to determine the integral, essential, and non-secular aspect of religion. A recollection of these distinctions is helpful to us.
‘Propagation’ is another important word that witnessed huge discussion to decide whether this expression provides for conversion. Moderate endeavor is taken to understand the expressions public order, morality and health to which the entire freedom of religion is subjected to. Freedom of religion can be regulated through legislations by States in matters of economic, financial, political and secular activities associated with religious practices is another area touched upon to help Christians aware of these insights. Another paramount insight helpful for diligent witness considered is that religious practices should give way to providing for social welfare and reforms.
In the light of these considerations suggestions are made for diligent Christian witness in the Indian context. This study is helpful for ‘diligent witness’ is in a way prophetic, to help avoid confrontation and waste of resources on indefensible matters. It is a call for Christians in India to be good law abiding citizens to bear witness to Christ.

Secularism
The word secular is not defined in the constitution but the prevailing definitions that are in vogue are based upon the Supreme Court judgments on various matters related to freedom of religion. The concept of secularism and freedom of religion is implicit in the Preamble and other provisions of the Constitution, even before the word ‘secular’ was inserted in the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976.  The amendment is intended merely to spell out clearly the principle of ‘secularism’ in the Constitution’.[6] Also ‘to make sure what India seeks to achieve as a secular State’.[7]
Secularism in India means respect for all religions and it does not mean irreligion.[8] It ‘is not indifference to religion’ and ‘does not behave hatred on any religion’. ‘Secularism conceptualizes peaceful co-existence of different faiths’ and considers each individual citizen as a free normal person in his/her own right’.[9] The essence of secularism is non-discrimination on the basis of religious differences.
‘Secularism can be practiced by adopting a complete neutral  approach towards religions or positively making one section of religious people to understand and respect religion of another’. The Supreme Court has held that ‘study of religions in school education is not against the secular philosophy of the Constitution’. It can help avoid ‘mutual distrust and intolerance’. This approach is called positive secularism’.[10]  It is ‘positive in its meaning in as much as it is an active instrument to prevent followers of different religions from perpetrating violent acts and atrocities against each other’.[11] These principles are to be practiced by a secular State (India).

Secular State
India under the Constitution is a Secular State which means, the State observes an attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religions. There shall be no “State religion”. The State will neither establish a religion of its own nor confer any special patronage upon any particular religion. ‘Every person is guaranteed the freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess, practice and propagate his/her own religion.[12] However, ’the religion of the individual or denomination has nothing to do in the matter of socio-economic change’.[13]
Further, under secular constitution, ‘the State will protect all religions but interfere with nun, and no person is to be discriminated against on the ground of religion. And it treats all religion equally’.[14] It is not an ‘atheistic State’ but it is ‘neutral’ in matters of religion.[15] In a secular stat “the state does not identify itself with any religion.”[16]  It is opposed to intolerance[17] but it regulates the secular activities connected with religion ‘by enacting law’[18] without interfering with ‘things which are essentially religious’. It can interfere if a particular religious practice offends public order, morality, health and contravenes any law of social, economic or political regulation’.[19]  No doubt, many questions arise in our minds but let us wait a while for more clarity.

Religion
Like the word “secular” the term “religion” is also not defined in the constitution,[20] and therefore one has to rely upon some of the definitions given in the Supreme Court Judgments. It is also true that the term ‘religion’ is beyond any form of convincing definition. 
The Supreme Court has held that religion is a matter of faith with individuals or communities and it is not necessarily theistic. A religion may only lay down a Code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, it might prescribe rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral part of religion, and those forms and observances might extend even to maters of food and dress.[21] Further “religion is not merely an opinion, doctrine or belief; it has its outward expression in acts as well. Hence, religious practices or performances of acts in pursuance of religious belief are as much part of religion as faith or belief in particular doctrines.”[22]
The courts have made distinction that “religion in its doctrinal and ritual aspect is a private purpose while the administration of property dedicated to the public for religious purposes is a public purpose.”[23]  Also, the court is competent to decide whether ‘doctrines and practices’ of each religion are essential or nonessential’.[24] These wider definitions of religion help understand ‘freedom to practice religion’ in the context of many religions and even ideologies. 
            Before entering into detail aspects of religious freedom in India it is worthwhile to recollect some of the limitations. They are:(1)it is subject to public order, morality and health, (2) subject to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution,(3) subject to any existing law regulating or restricting an economic, financial, political, or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice, (4) subject to law providing for social welfare and reform, and (5) subject to any law that may be made by the State and regulating  or restricting the activities aforesaid or providing for social welfare and reform.[25]

Freedom of Conscience
To begin with, “freedom of religion under the Indian Constitution means freedom to have any religion, freedom to convert to any religion and freedom to have no religion.”[26]The first step towards right to freedom of religion is freedom of conscience. Although Art.25 (1) provides for freedom of conscience[27] to every person, whether citizen or non-citizen,[28] the constitution has not defined the expression ‘freedom of conscience’.[29] Thus here too for definition one has to rely on the judgments of the Supreme Court.
Accordingly, the term ‘freedom of conscience’ connotes the right of a person to entertain beliefs and doctrines concerning matters which are regarded by him to be conducive to his spiritual well-being. The freedom of conscience is the inner freedom of the citizen to mould his own relation with God in any way he likes’.[30]
            Article 25 guarantees “freedom of conscience” to every citizen, and not merely to the followers of one particular religion. Hence, if a person purposely undertakes the conversion of another person to his religion, as distinguished from his effort to transmit or spread the tenets of his religion  that would impinge on the “freedom of conscience”, guaranteed to all the citizens of the country alike'.[31]
One can, of course, voluntarily adopt another religion, but ‘force, fraud, inducement or allurement’ takes away the free consent (freedom of conscience) from the individual’.[32] The constitution gives full freedom to individuals ‘to develop inner life in their own way and in accordance with the dictates of their conscience’.[33]
Freedom of religion begins at ‘internal’ or conscience (psychological) level. And hence the decision to accept or change over to a religion is personal in the first place. Does India really provide for ‘freedom of conscience’ in the present situation?

Profess
When freedom of conscience becomes articulate and expressed in outward form it is ‘to profess, practice and propagate religion. Art.25 (1) guarantees freedom to profess religion.[34] It means ‘to state publicly one’s creed or faith’.[35] It also means ‘to declare freely and openly one’s faith and belief’.[36]  Further it means, ‘to avow publicly and to make an open declaration of one’s belief. A declaration of one’s belief means, it would be known to those whom it may interest.[37]
The constitution has envisaged that the first level of freedom of religion is personal, internal or at conscience level and the second stage of the freedom of religion is public declaration of a person’s belief and faith. Every person who has decided in his/her conscious to follow a particular religion has the freedom to publicly declare his/her beliefs and faith.

Practice/ Religious Practice
The third stage of the freedom of religion guaranteed in Indian constitution is ‘to practice’ one’s religion. It is outward expression of one’s inner conviction and public profession. The expression ‘practice religion’ is complicated and has been subjected to rigorous legal scrutiny. Here comes the issue of essential and nonessential of religions; and religious and secular aspects of practices.
Art.25 (1) guarantees a person freedom to ‘practice’ religion.[38]  It means ‘the freedom to perform certain acts in pursuance of the faith’[39], ‘religion, religious belief,[40] and ‘practical expression in any manner’. In simple sense, ‘practice religion’ ‘is concerned primarily with religious worship, ritual and observations’.[41] 
These acts are prescribed by religious order in which one believes and they are
‘as much a part of religion as faith or belief in any particular doctrine’.[42] These practices are subject to ‘State regulation imposed to secure order, public health and morals of the people’.
            The first criterion to consider whether a religious practice is integral to or essential part of a religion, that practice ‘must be regarded by the said religion as its essential and integral part’. Secondly, whether the ‘community following the religion’ accepts such acts.[43] Thirdly and mainly it has to be decided by the courts.[44]
In conflicting situations, ‘the Court may have to enquire whether the practice in question is religious in character and if it is whether it can be regarded as an integral or essential part of the religion.’[45] These are not to clearly distinguish between religion and religious practice, but only to resolve conflicts.

Integral
In a case related to a temple in UP the Supreme Court said ‘Right to manage temple is not an integral part of religion. It can be regulated by law’.[46]
In Jammu and Kashmir, in a case related to a Hindu temple, “the Court made distinction between ‘religious service’ and the person who performs service’. The performance of the religious service according to the tenets, customs and usages prevalent in a place of worship is an integral part of the religion’s faith and belief and it cannot be regulated by the State. But the State has powers to regulate the appointment of the priest and can fix his emoluments. The Government can also abolish his customary share in the offerings to the deity.”[47]
Another significant judgment was ‘a disposition towards making gift for charitable or religious purpose may be a pious act of a person but the same cannot be said to be an integral part of any religion’.[48]
 ‘Khursheed Ahmad Khan filed a petition against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to remove him from service as Irrigation Supervisor for contracting a second marriage when his first marriage was still in existence.  Khan challenged that it violated his right to freely practice his religion. The Court held that ‘what was protected under Article 25 was the religious faith and not a practice which may run counter to public order, health or morality. Polygamy was not integral part of religion and monogamy was a reform within the power of the State under Article 25’.[49]

Essential
In a significant case the Supreme Court held that, ‘State can in exercise of its sovereign power acquire places of worship like mosques, churches, temples etc’. ‘if it is necessary for maintenance of law and order’. ‘While offer of prayer or worship is a religious practice its offering at every location where such prayers can be offered would not be an essential religious practice’, unless the right to worship at a particular place is itself an integral part of that right’. A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and Namaz (prayer) by Muslims may be offered anywhere, even in open’.[50]
“After the Babari Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 at Ayodhya, the Union Government acquired the whole property surrounding the mosque. This was challenged by the petitioners on the ground that it was violative of Arts. 25 and 26 of the Constitution as they were deprived of their right to worship in the mosque but Hindus were allowed to worship therein. The Court held the Act valid as it does not interfere with the essential element of religion.”[51]
The Commissioner of Police in Calcutta refused permission to the use of a loud-speaker five times a day for calling the Azan (call for prayer) as several residents of the locality complained against the practice’.[52] The Calcutta High Court said, restrictions imposed by the State on the use of microphones and loudspeakers at the time of Azan is not violative of right under Art. 25. Azan is certainly an essential and integral part of Islam, but use of microphone and loudspeakers are not an essential and integral part.  Traditionally and according to the religious order, Azen has to be given by the Imam or the person in charge of the mosques through their own voice and this is sanctioned under the religious order.[53]
 In the Church of God (Full Gospel) in India v. K.K.R.M.C. Welfare Association, in KKR Nagar, Madhavaram ‘the Supreme Court has held that in the exercise of the right to religious freedom under Arts. 25 and 26, no person can be allowed to create noise pollution or disturb the peace of the others’.  The custom of religious prayer through the use of loudspeaker is not an essential element of any religion.[54] It was also said, “no religion prescribes that prayers should be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice-amplifiers or beating of drums.[55]
  “One of the prescriptions of religious rites introduced from the year 1966 for daily performance by an Ananda Margi is Tandava dance of Lord Siva. This dance is to be performed with a human skull, a small symbolic knife, a Trishul, a Lathi and a Damroo.”[56] The commissioner of police prohibited such practice in public. The Court, after going into the religious books and practices of the Ananda Margis, held that tandava dance in public is not an essential part of Ananda Marga’.[57]
In a case related to Bihar, the Supreme Court held that the sacrifice of cow on the Bakrid day was not an essential part of Mohammedan religion and hence could be prohibited by State under clause (2) (a) of Article 25’ though the practice was enjoined by the Koran. Art. 25 exempts only the essential religious practices from State regulation.”[58]

Secular/Non-Secular
In the case of national leaders, when calamity or tragedy overtakes them the State is obligated to arrange for their funeral in a manner befitting their status and in accordance with the pursuits of the particular religion to which the departed personality belonged. The performance of such duty by the State can, by no stretch of imagination, be characterized as non-secular activity.[59]
In judgment of far reaching importance in the National Anthem case, where three Jehova’s Witnesses children were expelled from a school for refusing to sing the National Anthom, ‘the Supreme Court has held that no person can be compelled to sing the National Anthem “if he has genuine, conscientious religious objection.”[60]  The court upheld the prohibition of the religious order that prevented the children to sing the National Anthem.[61]  Having delved deep into ‘religious practice’ let us move to another interesting aspect of freedom of religion.

Propagate
The third level of religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution under Article 25 is to propagate a religion. The original expression used by Ambedkar was ‘right to preach and to convert’.[62] Propagation is transmitting one’s religious conviction and practices (tenets) to others[63] for edification. It only means persuasion and exposition of one’s religion without an element of coercion. The propaganda may be done by a person in his individual capacity or on behalf of some church or institution’.[64]
The right to propagate religion does not include the right to ‘insult the religion of other persons’. Anyone who propagates the benefits of his religion is likely to extol his own and, to some extent, dispute the truth and efficiency of another religion.  Propagation of religion cannot otherwise be carried on and within limits, regard being had to the law of blasphemy, profanity, etc.[65]  Only ‘the aggravated form of insult to religion is penalized’ under IPC  but ‘insult to religion offered unwittingly or carelessly or without any deliberate or malicious intention to outrage the religious feeling of that class are covered under the freedom of expression’.[66]
Propagation does not include ‘a right to forcible conversion’.[67] Plainly, there is no fundamental right to convert any person to one’s own religion. Hence legislation prohibiting conversion by force, inducement and fraud to one’s own religion is not violative of Article 25 (1). In Rev. Stainislaus v. state of M.P., the Court laid down that Article 25 (1) grants only the right to convert another person to one’s own religion by an exposition of its tenets.[68] The appellant argued that right to ‘propagate’ one’s religion meant the right to convert person to one’s own religion and was a fundamental right under Art. 25 (1) of the Constitution. Secondly, he argued Parliament alone had the power to make the law and not the State Legislature.     Rejecting the contentions of the appellant the Supreme Court held that impugned Acts were meant to avoid disturbances to the public order by prohibiting conversion from one’s religion to another in a manner reprehensible to the conscience of the community.[69]
                       
Public Order, Morality and Health
These expressions have wide connotation as they are not exactly defined in the article. Our freedom of conscience, freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion can no way disturb public order, morality and health. ‘Our history is witness to this’.[70] For example, slaughter of cattle or indecent exposure one’s person in a public place cannot be justified on plea of practice of religious rites. Of course, “Morality in this context, has reference to that morality which the law has concerned itself to maintain.”[71] Likewise, in the name of religious practice, ‘untouchability or traffic in human beings’ e.g., system of Devadasis (as prevalent in South India) cannot be tolerated. The freedom to practice religion cannot affect the exercise of the other freedoms under this part.[72]
Conversion by prohibited means can lead to breach of public order.[73] Prohibition of Tandava dance is done with the same spirit. On the one hand ‘the right to take out religious processions through the public streets subject to such directions as a magistrate may lawfully give is guaranteed by Art. 25, on the other, the right to take a profession along the highway is not a fundamental right and the Magistrate can impose restrictions if he apprehends a breach of the peace.[74] This is done to protect public order, morality and health.
In Bombay, under Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949, the Municipal Corporation had ordered the demolition of some parts of the two mosques situated in main road of Surat district of the State of Gujarat to widen the road. The Court held that the acquisition of a religious place or a part thereof is not prohibited by the Constitution and therefore can be acquired in the public interest for widening the road. However, the court categorically suggested that before such acquisition or demolition all other options are to be thoroughly examined.[75]
Graves in unauthorized and illegal places can be shifted.[76]  In U.P. Varanasi, two graves belonging to Sunnis were in the vicinity of Shias.  The Supreme Court upheld that the shifting of two Sunni graves to avoid clashes between two religious communities or sects does not affect religious rights being in the interest of public order, though the Shariat Law is against shifting of graves. Again “the ecclesiastical edict or right not to disturb an interred corpse is not absolute as will be clear from Sec. 176 (3) of the criminal Procedure Code which permits its exhumation for the purpose of crime detection.[77]
Having elaborately analyzed the aspects of freedom of conscience, freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, health, morality and the other provisions of this part, let me take you through the areas in which States can legislate laws and regulate religious practices.

Economic, Financial, Political and Secular Activities Associated with Religious Practices – Clause (2) (a)
Freedom to ‘practice religion’ extends only to those activities which are essential to religion. It does not cover secular activities connected with religion. ’The legislation contemplated under Article 25 (2) (a) can modify even the personal law’.[78]
 Article 25, clause 2 (a) saves the power of the State to regulate or restrict secular activities associated with religious practice. What is the dividing line between religious and secular activities is difficult to decide and it is for the court to determine. But subject to that, the religious denomination is entitled to lay down its rites and ceremonies’.[79] In the case of determining whether a matter is religious or secular, ‘each case must be judged by its own facts and circumstances’.[80] For example, “Service of a priest is a secular activity and can be regulated by the State under article 25 (2).”[81]
The religious missions have freedom to spend their money as they deem necessary. The Government is concerned, (i) to inquire how much foreign money has come in aid to a foreign mission.; (ii) to see whether money is being used in a way which may promote breach of public order, morality and health; (iii) to see whether there has been any attempt forcibly or fraudulently to convert a person from his own belief to another.
            The Government also may initiate, (i) an enquiry into the political activity associated with religion; (ii) inquiry into the attitude of foreign missions towards Indians; (iii) inquiry into social relations between Christians and non-Christians, (iv) inquiry into the operations of foreign  missions, particularly to see whether such operations extend to areas largely populated by scheduled Castes and the aborigines; and (v) inquiry into whether the pracharakas of any mission adopt methods offending public order, health or morality.[82]

Providing for Social Welfare and Reform
            Under clause (2) (b) of Art 25 the State is empowered to make laws for social welfare and social reform. The State can also eradicate social practices and dogmas which stand in the path of the country’s onward progress. Where there is conflict between the need of social welfare and reform on the one hand and religious practice on the other, religion must yield.[83]  Therefore, a law enacted for introducing social reform cannot be challenged as violating the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.[84]
For example ‘polygamy is not an essential part of the Hindu religion, therefore, it can be regulated by law’.[85]  A prohibition of the same by law does not contravene the freedom of religion because providing for compulsory monogamy and prohibiting bigamy is valid as a measure of social reform.[86]Further, ‘marriage is a social institution’.[87]
 Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 disqualifies persons having more than two children from contesting election for the post of Sarpanch and Panch in panchyat does not violate Article 25 of the Constitution. The court held ‘the Muslim law permits marrying four women but does not anywhere mandates it as a duty to perform four marriages. Such practices which encourage bigamy or polygamy can be regulated by making law.’[88]
Under this sub-clause the State is empowered to throw open all Hindu religious institutions of a public character, to all classes and sections of Hindus’. But the State cannot regulate the manner in which the worship of the deity is performed by the authorized pujaris of the temple or the hours and days on which the temple is to be kept open for darshan or puja for devotees. Similarly ‘the right of Sikhs to carry Kirpans is recognized as a religious practice in Explanation 1 of article 25. ‘This does not mean that he can keep any number of Kirpans’.[89]  Therefore, legislation in the area of personal laws cannot be challenged on the ground that it interferes with religious freedom.[90]
            Recollection of insights from Article 25 through an almost thorough discussion has helped obtain broader, but not complete, understanding of freedom of religion in India within the frame work of Indian constitution. Now it is possible to consider ‘diligent Christian witness’.

Diligent Christian Witness
The word ‘diligent’ broadly means industrious, meticulous, conscientious, attentive, careful, etc. It has been deliberately chosen to convey that there is a need in India for the Christians (Church) to labor hard with much prudence in the light of the freedom of religion guaranteed under fundamental rights.
It is so because we are faced with the challenge of our secular principles of non-discrimination on religious grounds and religious neutrality of the State are under constant threat and pressure from communal ideologies that are lurking behind political organizations. There is a possible and legitimate apprehension that efforts are on to replace non discrimination and neutrality of the State with religious discrimination and partiality. Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal said ‘people were being killed for not agreeing with the ruling ideology’ and ‘in this rising tide of hatred, India is being unmade, being destroyed’.[91] Our witness can become part of rebuilding and remaking India.
The secular State of ours cannot fail providing same constitutional protection to all the religions in India.  She is expected to fight ‘religious intolerance’ among different religions. She is beautiful and fascinating as long as not wedded to ‘identify with one religion’. However, the concern for our witness is that the government might consciously protect one religion, identify with one religion and become intolerant to other religions. That is why ‘Nayantara Sahgal has returned the prestigious Sahitya Akasemi Award in protest against what she called “vanishing space” for diversity’.[92] Can Christian witness ignore these concerns?
It is too early but often we are overwhelmed, because of the new developments around us, to question the sincerity of the government to maintain the credibility of the principles of secularism. President Pranab Mukherjee said ‘India’s core civilisational values of diversity, tolerance, and plurality have kept it united for centuries and that cannot be wasted’.[93] These principles are bedrock to our witness at all times and at all situations. To continue this blessed privilege we should be vigilantly diligent and our witness too should be relevant. It is said, “rarely do foundational threats to Constitutions come as sudden events, they often build up as liberties and freedoms are incrementally compromised.”[94] We have to raise contextual voice that can synchronies with other similar voices.
The identification of ‘positive secularism’ within the frame work of Indian Constitution is encouraging. It implies conscious attempt to coexist with each other (religions).  It is hard to find any such effort from the power centers. Rather, what we see is a clear effort to exclude the other irrespective of their potentials and contributions towards nation building and transformation. These naïve signs call for continuous struggle and prudent witnessing. Our sustained engagement in dialogue is a fruitful consideration.
Although the Supreme Court has time and again attempted a broader and inclusive definition of religion we are to be conscious of the jurisdiction of courts in deciding essential, integral and non-secular aspects of religion. Only worrying concern is whether the same yard stick and speed is applied for all the religious practices in India. Referring to the many recent killings (rationalists, etc.) it is said “in all these cases, justice drags its feet. The Prime Minister remains silent on this reign of terror.”[95] What is law to one religion should become law to all the religions, including Christian.
            Freedom of conscience is expected to be free from influence. The reality is that psychological threats are created. It prevents from freely deciding for oneself without coercion. Often terrorizing and fake circumstances are engineered to influence people’s conscience. There is a tendency to dictate what an Indian should say, respect, and practice. Failure to do so is threatened with dare consequence of exclusion. Ensuring our careful attention to such developments can be part of our witness. 
Subjects that are considered non essential, non-integral and secular aspects of religion have to be carefully handled to eliminate artificial doubts about our commitment and contributions to the constitution and Nation. 
            It is healthy that courts can interfere in ‘freedom of religion’ and regulate matters when abuse is apprehended. If partisan consideration is perceived, we have a responsibility, as a part of our witness, to make available such data to the public.
            States’ power to legitimately acquire or alter religious structures for the purpose of public order and social welfare has to be complied with. The advice that such acts should be the final consideration is appreciable. Doubt is whether property, structures and practices of numerically powerful experience similar situation. Why could not an idol illegally place in a mosque removed and the situation is allowed to spiral up leading to constant tension while even Muslim and Christian tombs can be exhumed or shifted.   We may need to show our solidarity, as a part of our witnessing, towards acceptable solutions.
            It is true that “the exercise of our rights should not infringe the rights of others.”[96]
But a seeming presumption is that Muslim’s Azan (five times a day) and Christian prayers with loud music are restricted while the noise pollution and public nuisance caused all through the year are not regulated by the States. The increasing number of bans on certain practices and the newer presentation of Hinduism in contrast to British, Nehru and Indian intellectuals are worrying. It is unheard in the recent past that communal programs and social evils of numerically powerful are banned in India. Our plans of witness can include some lawful awareness programs.
             Leave alone the apprehensions and make clear that fixing a grave or religious structure in disputed places is not the alternative to law abiding. Being law abiding citizens and avoiding unreasonable conflicts can be a form of witness. Hence it is said “if we seek justice from the State and the law, we have a moral obligation to act with justice within our churches, communities and families.”[97]
            The State honor accorded to public personalities in accordance with their particular religious rites cannot uncharitably accused as non-secular. Even the court had respected the religious sentiments of people who did not participate in the singing of national anthem. It is to be respected that although force, fraud and allurement or inducement is not accepted in the process of propagation (religious mobility), exposition of one’s religious tenets and disputing one’s faith with others without causing insult is accepted. In spite of freedom of religion Acts being legislated, we may work out our diligent witness keeping these opportunities in mind.
Even when our personal laws are intervened, our witness can be focused and supportive to the health of the society (social welfare) at large with the responsibility that state can regulate our financial, political and secular activities. 

Conclusions
To conclude, “hatred begets hatred. In the modern world, there is no place for chauvinism. How could anyone forget the noble contribution of the Christian Missionaries as pioneers in the field of education and Medicare extending to the remote interiors of tribal areas? The role of the Christian in presenting the image of a united and integrated India cannot be lost of.”[98]
            No religion seems to be non-missionary. Love your enemy has no parallel nor ‘do unto others what you would expect them to do for you’ found any alternative. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, to God the things that are God’s, for diligent witness.


Religion and Dialogue


[1] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 6th ed. (Delhi: Universal Law Publishing Co., 2005), 64.
[2] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 4th ed. (Delhi: Delhi Law House, 2002), 800.
[3] D.C. Ahir, Dr. Ambedkar and Indian Constitution, 2nd ed. (Delhi: Low Price Publications, 1997), 90.
[4] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 2nd ed. ( Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 1992), 225.
[5]  M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 3rd ed. (Bombay: N.M. Tripathi Private LTD, 1983), 526.
[6] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 47th ed. (Allahabad: Central Law Agency, 2010), 323.
[7] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 11th ed. 9 (New Delhi: Orient  Publishing company, 2014), 494.
[8] M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 526.
[9] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj, ed., Rights & Responsibilities of the Minorities (Bangalore:
Theological Book Trust, 1999), 55-58.
[10] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 323-24. [AIR 1994 SC 1918]
[11] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj, 55.
[12] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 19th ed. (Nagpur: Wadhwa and Company, 2003),114-15.                                                                                             
[13] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 481.
 [14] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 7th ed. (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 1991), 274.
[15] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 323.
[16] M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 526.
[17] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj, 57.
[18] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 323. [AIR 1994 SC 1918]
[19] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 116.
[20] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.
[21] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India,) 325.
[22] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India (Madras: The Madras Law Journal Office, 1970), 259.
[23] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 260.
[24] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 63.
[25] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 259.
[26] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 493.
[27] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 325.
[28] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 259.
[29] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.
[30] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 274- 75. [AIR 1954 SC 388: 1954 SCR 1055]
[31] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 323-26.
[32] Durga Das Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India, 117.
[33] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj, 55.
[34] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 325.
[35] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.
[36] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 325.
[37] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 260.
[38] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 325.
[39] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.
[40] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 260.
[41] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 64.
[42] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 275.
[43] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 261.
[44] V. N. Shukla, The Constitution of India, 8th ed. (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company, 1990), 162.
[45] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 261.
[46] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 65.
[47] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 330. [Bhuri v. State of J.& K., AIR 1997 SC 1711]
[48] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 62. [John Vallamattom v. Union of India, AIR 2003 SC2902: (2003) 6 SCC 611: (2003) 3 KLT 66.]
[49] “Right to Religion not Above Public Morality: SC,” The Hindu (Vijayawada) 10 February 2015, 10.
[50] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 328.[ (1994) 6 SCC 360.]
[51] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 328.[( 1994) 6 SCC 360.]
[52] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 261.
[53] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 329. [AIR 1999 Cal 15.]
[54] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 329-30.   
[55] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 64.[ Church of God (Full Gospel) in India v. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association, AIR 2000 SC 2773: (2000) 7 SCC 282: 2000 SCC (cri) 1350.]
[56] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 276.
[57] V. N. Shukla, The Constitution of India, 162. [(1984) 4 SCC 522.]
[58] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 335- 36. [ AIR 1958 SC 731.]
[59] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 787.
[60] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 326.[ Bajoe Emmanual v. State of Kerala, (1984)JSCC
 615.], [three children]
[61] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj,59.
[62] D.C. Ahir, Dr. Ambedkar and Indian Constitution, 83.
[63] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.
[64] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 275.
[65] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 262.
[66] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 482.
[67] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 64.
[68] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 225.[Stainislaus v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1977 SC 908: (1977) 1 SCC 677:1977 Cri LJ 551.]
[69] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 333. [ AIR 1977 SC 908.]
[70] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 479.
[71] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 791.
[72] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 333.
[73] V.D. Mahajan, Constitutional Law of India, 276.
[74] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 261.
[75] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 329. [AIR 1998 Guj. 234.]
[76] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 799.
[77] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 334-35.
[78] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 795.
[79] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 62-63.
[80] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 335.
[81] P.M. Bakshi, The Constitution of India, 62. (Bhuri Nath v. Stae of jammu & Kashmir, AIR 1997 SC 1711: (1997 2 SCC 745.)
[82] Chaudhari & Chaturvedi, Law of Fundamental Rights, 792.
[83] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 337.[ AIR 1953 Bom 84.]
[84] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 262.
[85] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 337.[ AIR 1953 Bom 84.]
[86] The Madras Law Journal Office, The Constitution of India, 260-63.
[87] P.K. Majumdar & R. P. Kataria, Commentary on the Constitution of India, 474.
[88] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 335. [ AIR 2003 SC 3057.]
[89] J.N. Pandey, The Constitutional Law of India, 337-38. [Venkataramanu Devaru v. State of Mysore, AIR 1958 SC 255., Vaguapurushcdji v. Muldas, AIR 1966 SC 1119.]
[90] T.K. Tope, Constitutional Law of India, 226                                            
[91] Smriti Kak Ramachandran & Anuradha Raman, “Nayantara Sahgal Protests Dadri Lynching, Returns Akademi Award,” The Hindu (Vijayawada) 7 October 2015, 1.
[92] Smriti Kak Ramachandran & Anuradha Raman, 1.
[93]Smita Gupta, Pranab Warns against Letting Go of India’s core Values,” The Hindu (Vijayawada), 8 October 2015, 1.
[94] Anup Surendranath, Beefed-up Curbs, Feeble Resistance,” The Hindu (Vijayawada) 10 October 2015, 10.
[95] Smriti Kak Ramachandran & Anuradha Raman, 1.
[96]VK Kuriakose, “Religious Pollution,” Indian Currents XXVII/38 (21-27 September, 2015): 39.
[97] Sarasu Esther Thomas, Law for Christians in contemporary India (Bangalore: BTESSC, 2014), 150.
[98] Charles Prabakar and Paul Mohan Raj, 61.


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