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13-Sep-2017

Are secular principles in Part III of the constitution promoting qualified or absolute secularism? Analyse, in the context of SC's ruling in Gujarat, compensation for damaged religious shrines case.


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IAS Parliament

7 days

Key Points

·        Secularism - It is the principle of separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.

·        Secularism in India - Secularism in India means equal treatment of all religions by the state.

·        Case - The Supreme Court has set aside a Gujarat High Court order which mandates the state government to give monetary compensation on repair of shrines damaged in Gujarat riots, in the view of violation of Article 27 of Indian Constitution which forbids the state from compelling a person to pay taxes for promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.

·        SC accepted the state government’s assurance to pay a maximum of Rs 50,000 as compensation to all places of worship damaged in the riots.

·        Precedent - Supreme Court in a case against Haj pilgrimage subsidy had held that, “If only a relatively small part of any tax collected is utilised for providing some conveniences or facilities or concessions to any religious denomination that would not be violative of Article 27. It is only when a substantial part of the tax is utilised for any particular religion would Article 27 be violated.”

·        Based on the above verdict, we can conclude that the compensation assured by state government of Gujarat of Rs. 50,000 will not violate Article 27.

·        Moreover, it is not to be taken as an isolated incident. The State government incurred some expenditure for the Kumbh Mela and the Centre, for facilitating Indian Citizens to go on pilgrimage to Mansarover, etc.

·        Similarly, some state governments provided facilities to Hindus and Sikhs to visit temples and gurdwaras in Pakistan. These are very small expenditures in proportion to the entire tax collected. Thus there is no discrimination among religions.

·        In fact, Article 290A specifically deals with the state funding to maintain religious places like devaswoms, Hindu temples out of the consolidated fund of the respective states.

·        Considering the above examples of state subsidises a small amount of religious activities of all religion equally, make us prove that India is an Absolute Secularist Country and part III of our Indian Constitution promotes absolute secularism. 

Ammerpet

12 days

Please review

7 days
IAS Parliament
Good Attempt. Try to relate the second part of answer with the first part of the question.

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