Law and religion are closely related. Framing of rules and merely asking the subjects to abide would not create any sort of discipline in the society rather it would provoke them to break the rule because morality as we know is something that is innate, it should be created through spiritual awareness. The legislation cannot bear the burden of instilling the sense of self- respect among every individual and that is exactly where the role of religion in a society arises. Religion propagates spirituality which helps to come in terms with the prodigious potential of love and the ability of the soul to live in peace with our mind and with the world. Law contains the principles of religion embedded to it. Religion can be seen as one of the source from which the Law emanated. Throughout the History of mankind we could clearly see that Law and religion synchronize with each other despite the evolution and changes that have occurred in the society. Religion not just tries to devise a virtuous way of life but it also constructs a sense of reasoning that seeks to understand the impulse of Law. In a way the national conventionalities are greatly imparted and inveigled by the religion as the very notion has been a medium to bring people with same ideologies in a country to come together and work for the betterment of the people. The importance of religion in Law could be seen when closely analyzing the fact that when the legal regime was at its nascent stage, religion being a socio-phenomenal factor helped in framing certain legal principles of Law. In fact the Hindu Law which plays a pivotal role in the Judicial decisions of Indian courts and acts as Law governing the various aspects like inheritance ,marriage, separation, maintenance and intestate succession of property by the Hindus, Virashaiva, Lingayat, Buddhist, Jain ,Sikh who form the majority of population of India, owes its origin to the religious texts and on close analysis of Jurisprudence we can see that ‘Shruti’-the collective name for Vedas that contains teaching on human obligations and essence of such duties that a man is entitled to do and to ‘Smruti’ that is said to be what the Rishis or saints remember as words of the ‘Almighty’ that they came into realization during meditation. Smruti was based on basic principle of Dharma which means honesty .It is very engrossing to understand that the very essence of what we call as legal justice today is determined by this very inclination of honesty. Similarly the Mohammaden Laws or current Islamic Laws owe their source to Sharia which are considered as the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who was considered as messenger of God. His teachings are mentioned in the Holy book of Koran and we can see evident examples that the Kuran recognizes certain crimes which we see in the Criminal procedure code today. The principle of natural justice which maintains the substance of Justice ,Equity and good conscience is the way of enunciating moral judgments through syllogisation which is similar to the goal of religious path as well.
India has portrayed to the world the image of secularism which gives the citizen the freedom to follow any religion of their choice. India is a home to various religions and the sub-sects of the same and therefore the State has the duty attached to it to protect the faith and beliefs of these religions while proclaiming itself as a secular State. Religion is a way of life and every individual should have the freedom to espouse the way they want to live their life .Religion is very important to the Indians and to understand this we have the clear example in the History wherein the force that provoked the Indians to fight against the British in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was when the British had trammeled with religious sentiments of Hindus and Muslims by asking them to bite the edge of the cartridge which contained pig and cow fat .Cow and Pig are considered pious, religious and were worshipped with huge reverence by the Hindus and Muslims respectively. Even in the modern scenario Indians become reprehensible when their religious sentiments are hurt. But all the acts that could possibly hurt religious sentiments are not wrong until they violate the principles and provisions of Law itself. In the recent time there has been huge influence of politics over religion. Constitution aims at minimal intervention of state over religion however the political parties instigate religious conflicts just for the sake of increasing their vote banks .The secularism notion is encapsulated in the Article 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution. Through these provisions although the Constitution guarantees religious freedom to delineate secularism, it also puts forth certain restrictions.
The Article 25 of The Indian constitution gives freedom to all individuals and is not restricted just to the citizens of India to profess, practice and promulgate the aspects of religion continuously keeping in mind the public welfare at large. This provision gives a man the right to follow the religion he likes and to freely express the same. This article also gives a person the freedom to spread and impart knowledge to others and thereby to persuade them to follow specified set of beliefs. This freedom is restricted by stating that although he can persuade a person he has no right to force another individual to follow his teachings or to change the beliefs that he or she beholds.
The Article 26  of the Indian Constitution gives freedom to its citizens to build any religious institutions and to cater to the religious charitable purposes of the general public. In India we could see that many political parties in our multi-party democracy quite easily use religion as a reason to increase the vote banks. This has indeed become quite a common practice .This situation calls for the need for buzzing an emergency alarm as political influence over religion is a red mark for the progress of our country.
Article 27 of the Indian constitution necessitates that the religious establishments formed for the purpose of promoting any particular religion or to profess the religious ideologies herein shall not be compelled to pay any tax or duties. Also, the provision prohibits collecting any proceeds on any amount used for the maintenance of such establishment or religiously significant denominations. In this case it is important to note that the temples pay taxes to the Government. However, this instance should not be confused as violation of the above mentioned provision of the Constitution because here the people are not asked to pay tax just because they worship God or for having faith in certain ideologies .The tax is paid for the profit made by the temples after deducting the amount spent over maintenance or of the religious denomination. Temples like Tirupathi and Padmanabham Swamy temples in India are considered to be very Rich temples and therefore they make huge profits as large number of folks visit the temple from around the World. This creates huge fund bank for the temples and hence it becomes justifiable to levy tax over the excess income or profit earned by such religious establishments.
Article 28  of the Indian Constitution gives freedom to religious instruction or worship. No state shall influence religious instructions and incase an institution indulges in the same it should be such that state funded wholly or partially. The state is obliged to follow the secular ethics which is clearly postulated under the preamble of the Indian Constitution.
On analyzing the recent judgments’ with respect of the above provisions it is questionable whether the Judiciary in India has been taking liberty into interfering in the religious matters in the recent times. The Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to allow women into the premises of Sabarimala triggered huge debate across the country. It was seen as judgment thrashing the religious faith of Hindu devotees of Lord Ayyappa. There were criticisms that Judiciary had created huge mistake by changing the age old custom of not letting women of menstruating age into the premises of the temple. The religious faith associated with not allowing women of menstruating age into the temple is that Lord Ayyappa chose to live a life of celibacy and he did not want to get distracted by the women approaching the temple.. If Lord Ayyappa’s celibacy was the reason that women of menstruating age are not allowed then the question to be answered here is why are other temples of Lord Ayyappa permitting the entry of women into the premises. The other contention was that male devotees going to the temple undergo rigorous fasting process and abstain from any physical intimacy with the other sex and allowing women of menstruating age would do unjust to them because their fast will get distracted. Fasting rigorously is a way to show God the amount of devotion you carry with you and within you, it is a way of purifying one’s mind and body. Merely by seeing a women devotee of menstruating age men who underwent rigorous fasting and abstained from physical intimacy with the opposite sex is distracted then it would render the entire process of fasting absolutely useless. There were arguments that the way to the temple is full of forests and that it is not safe for the women to trek to the temple , it was also said that allowing women could lead to sexual offences . The society for a long time now has been using this excuse to prevent women from doing what they like. Rather than contending the place is not safe for women , measures should be taken to make the place secure for female devotees as well. The female devotees have absolute right to express the same amount of devotion like that of the male. Both men and women coexist, it is high in time to change the perception that women are weak. There are several instances where women have achieved things that were impossible for any men to accomplish. Also, the age old custom or tradition is not broken .For a practice to be a custom it should have been practiced from time immemorial but there are evidences of women entering the premises until it was prevented by a ruling by Kerala High Court in the year 1991 .It post this that ID cards were used to check the age of women devotees .The Judgment in favor of women entering the temple was passed as the 5 judges bench supported in majority in the ratio of 4: 1. Justice Indu Malhotra, gave a dissenting opinion. This was a landmark Judgment that proved that the society’s mindset towards women being considered weak is slowly changing over the time.
Another landmark judgment where Judiciary interfered in the religious faith for good was that of the Triple Talaq. This landmark judgment was passed in the year 2017.Triple talaq is also known as Talaq-e-Biddat an Islamic practice where the men had the practice of giving instant Talaq just by saying out loud the word ‘Talaq’ for three times. Nikah h-Halala was another practice where a women who wished to remarry her husband after Talaq should again marry another man, divorce him and then remarry her husband. These practices rendered great injustice to the women of Muslim community .This case was brought before the Court by Shayra Bano who was divorced by her husband through this practice of instant separation. She filed a writ petition before the court seeking to abolish this practice that had dreadfully affected the lives of many women in the Muslim Community. Another woman named Afreen Rehman who was divorced through speed post. These practices left a woman to suffer as a dupe to certain meaningless religious beliefs. Many women after being given Triple Talaq without consent suffered a life of poverty with no compensation being given as maintenance. They were just left helpless with nobody to support them. In the cases where they wanted to get back with their husband, they were asked to marry another man and divorce him no matter whether they wanted it or not. This caused huge mental trauma and depression to them. The Supreme Court’s ruling to declare the practice unconstitutional is a great leap towards protection of women’s right in the society. Men cannot have a right to just leave a women to suffer just because they lack interest without hearing both the side’s opinion .Women victims should be given the right to be heard and to voice their grievances.
On an overview over the Citizenship amendment Act that resulted in nationwide opposition we could see that it is an act that is absolutely unconstitutional and interferes with the secular ethics of our Country. The act aims to identify illegal immigrants. Evidently the Muslim community is being targeted here. The Government’s logic is that they are ready to lend a helping hand to the refugees who face religious disparities. If that was so then the Rohingya Muslim minorities, Ahmedian Muslims and Shia sects facing persecution should have been an exception as well. The illegal Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh should have also been prevented if they were to cause threat to the livelihood of the indigenous people living in that part. The bill did not include all the neighboring country and the Tamil-Hindu and Christian community members seeking refugee from Srilanka were excluded. In this instance we could see the state interference with religion which Dr.Ambedkar decided should be minimal while framing the constitution. This is clear cut discrimination. Judiciary’s intervention in this case without any political influence is necessary to answer the doubts of people who think this act tries to denote Muslim community as second class citizens. It is highly essential to hold the essence of Article 14 of the Indian constitution from being violated.
The Sabarimala case saw the need to start treating women equally to men. Measures must be taken for the implementation of the same. The judgment is not in favor feminism but aimed instill a sense of humanitarianism. The Triple Talaq case’s ruling told the country to speed up the process of bringing in Uniform Civil Code to replace the personal laws .However it is important to note that not all the acts that are religiously sensitive are to be supported by Law. Only those faiths that are very valuable to a religion and not causing harm to public are ascertained and supported. To classify the act as valuable to a religion is the responsibility vested to the Court of Law and it does so with the help of evidences supporting it. Most of the times a particular religion is given much importance and the rest are left at stake. This could be a dead end to the progress of the economy and could also cause religious riots and unrest in the country ultimately weakening the development process. The Citizenship Amendment act should be implemented only with the motive of social welfare of all sects of people and not for creating conflicts between religious communities. The vote banks should not be the aim for bringing in any legislation. Judiciary should interfere in certain religiously sensitive matters so that the peace prevails. At the end of the day it is justice in which we rely to enjoy equality, freedom and for believing in doing all good things that our religions preach.
 Jonathon Chaplin, “Law Can Be Influenced By Religion”, 2011 <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/jan/22/law-religion-relationship-subtle-clarity> accessed on 2nd February 2020
 Gilles Tarabout, “Ruling on Rituals: Courts of Law and Religious Practices in Contemporary Hinduism”,2018,South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic journal,< https://journals.openedition.org/samaj/4451>, accessed on 7th February 2020
 R.K. Agarwal, “Hindu Law”, 25th Edition| Central Law Agency| 2016(ISBN: 9789384852375, 9384852376)
 Dr.Paras Diwan, “Muslim Law in Modern India”, |Allahabad Law Agency-Delhi|2016(ISBN: 9789380231198, 9380231199) Constitution of India 1950, Art. 25  Constitution of India 1950, Art. 26  Constitution of India 1950, Art. 27  Constitution of India 1950, Art. 28
 Kantaru Rajeevaru Vs. INDIAN YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCIATION THR.ITS GENERAL SECRETARY AND ORS.|2018| SCC < https://www.sci.gov.in/pdf/JUD_6.pdf> accessed on 6th February 2020 Shayar Bano Vs. Union of India |2017| 9 SCC 1  THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019 NO. 47 OF 2019  Constitution of India 1950,Art. 14
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Akshaya Shri and Pranav are pursuing 4th Year of B.B.A LL.B (Hons) at Alliance School of Law, Alliance university, Bengaluru.