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LAW AND RELIGION- A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

Updated: Jul 12

The 42nd amendment of the Indian Constitution (1976), made an effort to built in a harmonious - relationship between the term Law and Religion. This amendment was also stated as the Mini Constitution because of the number of amendments suggested. The major amendment that was done with the addition of Fundamental duties (Article 51 A), Insertion of Directive Principles of State Policy (15 principles) and Equal justice and Free legal Aid (Article 39 A).The terms Secularism and Socialist were inserted in the Preamble, which added the essence to the Constitution. During the Partition of India, Pakistan was a country with a religious dominance of Muslims where as India took under its shelter various religions, Hindu being the majority, there existed Muslim, Sikh, Parsi, Isai, Christians and other diverse cultures and religion. What the law respected was religion, while there are Govt of India supported bodies to help in aiding the religious run educational institutes or survival of heritage monuments, this support extended by the govt has many a times divided the nation from its roots, Riots, Mob lynching being some of the burning examples. Some times certain religious heads have huge influence on the public for which some of these riots are actually politically funded and orchestrated just create a sense of hatefulness amongst their followers, these followers get blindfolded by the teachings of their religious heads and are unable to see the financial friendship or bonding or alliance between the political leader and such religious leader, where most of these alliance leads to innocent being killed, families ruined and Peace and Tranquillity of the state being destroyed. One of the most highlighted versions of religious discrimination can be seen, In India 20 states have banned slaughter of Cow, this shall include bullocks and bulls in states like Gujarat, Odisha, Tripura, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh amongst many other. The Gujarat Govt made a law regarding slaughter of Cows, where anyone committing such act is to be imprisoned for lifetime as a punishment, there also exists an amendment to The State’s Animal Preservation Act where in anyone who is found guilty of transporting of Beef is to be jailed for 10 years. In Maharashtra where killing of Cows is an offence also includes the slaughtering of bullocks and bulls as an offence. Anyone who is found to be involved in such act may be imprisoned for 5 years and a fine to be imposed of Rs 10000 (INR). As to goat sacrifice in the Nation, there has been ban imposed by few states but the sacrifice of such animal is not completely eradicated. There has been instances reported in the local news-papers of states like Tripura, Odisha, Assam to name a few. Sacrifice of goats during Durga Puja and some other celebrations has been centuries old practice so here in the case of Kamakshya Temple in Assam the head priest himself confirmed the sacrifice of one animal daily because of daily rituals, he stated that the religious believes and sentiments of any devotee should not be broken and thus sacrifice to be allowed but with restrictions on heavy number of cattle slaughter. The question here arrives is that, whether the lives of goat or pigeon are any different than the life of a cow, buffalo or bullock. What was it that gave the empowering force to the govt to impose ban on cow slaughter and yet somehow keeping quiet about sacrifice of animals in temples? The Tribal have a practice of sacrifice and that still could not be stopped where as a man is brutally killed in Uttar Pradesh only with a believe that he might be carrying beef, is this the meaning of a socialist and secular nation? In India the Islam or Muslim community constitutes 15% of the Nation’s population. Yet somehow, the ill treatment towards this community goes unnoticed where as any respect given to the people of this community is highlighted in the media as an achievement. The intention of other communities to prove that they don’t discriminate amongst religions, is just a mask to show the world that we care and we live happily, but where Tablighi Jamat is criticized for allocating a large number of people, the ‘sebayats’ not wearing a mask in Puri Rath Yatra goes somehow unnoticed by the media of the nation or the law enforcing authorities. So is this blindfolded act of the law enforcing authorities and the media houses (termed as the 4Th pillar of the constitution), a mere mistake of omission or there exists another reason. There are certain possibilities of such ignorance1. Due to the chaos in the chariot pulling celebration or Rath Yatra such negligence of not wearing mask by hundreds of Sebayats went unnoticed because of the attempts for smooth running of the festival. 2. It could be that the law enforcing authorities could not impose fines or force such Sebayats to wear masks because of the unity of the Sebayats which could have lead to huge disturbance, between the state authorities and temple authorities, and the rituals couldn’t be performed peacefully. 3. May be because the majority of the nation or the state is so much consummated by Hindu believes, that lives of people and breaking of rules in this pandemic were not considered as an offence. 4. There reason could be blind faith in the Lord as the head Sebayat said “Lord Jagannath will save us all from this pandemic”, but taking a risk on this assumption, without proper precautions being taken, putting lives in danger was not under the rights of the temple association. The State govt had passed notification where in all senior citizens above the age of 60 and children below the age of 10 were not to be permitted to move out of their houses, this was to protect the vulnerable but in the video footages of the Rath Yatra there are evidently kids and old aged men being a part of Rath Yatra rituals, although they are the members of the temple’s association but taking this risk and going against the notification shows the imposition of religious believes over rules or laws. What we see around us in towns, and countryside cities or villages is the presence of a muslim colony or a brahmin colony or a sikh colony, this shows that ‘Secularism’ was just another word and could not be a practice in our lives, colonies being set up or inhabitants choosing to remain in their own colonies shows how unity in diversity is still a long way for our nation.. The term ‘Socialist” stated in the preamble states equal standing in the society as to reputation, amongst many other social standings, this is somehow not practiced in the nation. This could be because of the events that occurred in the past, the Godhra riots which created difference between the Muslim community and others, The Indra Gandhi assassination created a difference amongst the Sikh community and Anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal district of Odisha against Christians , The Babri Masjid riots created tension amongst the Hindus and Muslims. These certain violent incidents in the past have become an obstruction and have made it difficult for the Nation to turn into a Secular nation. The only way this long-distance relationship with so many issues and past violent incidents, can sustain through is through understanding that not all are the same. This could be done through govt initiations, where in the govt could ask the religious leaders to reach to a pact of no violence, this is a very difficult task looking at the existing damage and looking at the condition of our nation, no govt would do that because the govts have shown a pattern of believing in the policy of “divide and conquer”. So it is now the duty of the people of our nation, to listen and analyse the truth of what we are shown, to check up on the media and political policies, to look out for the sake of mankind and to question the authorities if our fellow neighbour or any human regardless of his religion is facing some discrimination because of gender, caste or religion. The movies showing brotherhood of a Muslim and Hindu or a Sikh and Parsi or any religion being a friend of other should not amaze us, because that is what should be prevalent, and we should play our part in making this union of religion and law a successful relationship


Adyasha Mishra

Soa National Institute of Law

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