Supreme Court Guidelines

Secularism M.P. Gopalakrishnan v. State of Kerala, AIR 2005 SC 3053: (2005) 11 SCC 45

India is a secular country. Secularism has been inserted in the Preamble by reason of the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. The object of inserting the said word was to spell out expressly the high ideas of secularism and the integrity of the nation on the ground that these institutions are subjected to considerable stresses and strains and vested interests have been trying to promote their selfish ends to the great detriment of the public good.

“Rise of fundamentalism and communalisation of politics are anti-secularism. They encourage separatist and divisive forces and become breeding grounds for national disintegration and fail the parliamentary democratic system and the Constitution. Judicial process must promote citizens’ active participation in electoral process uninfluenced by any corrupt practice to exercise their free and fair franchise. Correct interpretation in proper perspective would be in the defence of the democracy and to maintain the democratic process on an even keel even in the face of possible friction, it is but the duty of the court to interpret the Constitution to bring the political parties within the purview of constitutional parameters for accountability and to abide by the Constitution, the laws for their strict adherence;” S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, (1994) 3 SCC 1.

It is now well-settled:

(i) The Constitution prohibits the establishment of a theocratic State.

(ii) The Constitution is not only prohibited to establish any religion of its own but is also prohibited to identify itself with or favouring any particular religion.

(iii) The secularism under the Indian Constitution does not mean constitution of an atheist society but it merely means equal status of all religions without any preference in favour of or discrimination against any one of them.

Source: M.A. Rashid, Supreme Court Guidelines and Precedents

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