Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court

Overview

This book examines the relationship of religion and the Indian state and seeks to answer the question: 'How has the higher judiciary in independent India interpreted the right to freedom of religion and in turn influenced the discourse on secularism and nationhood?' The SCI has entered into many debates and controversies regarding religious doctrines. The author examines the tension between judgments that attempt to define the essence of religion and in many ways to 'rationalize' it, and a society where religion ...

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Overview

This book examines the relationship of religion and the Indian state and seeks to answer the question: 'How has the higher judiciary in independent India interpreted the right to freedom of religion and in turn influenced the discourse on secularism and nationhood?' The SCI has entered into many debates and controversies regarding religious doctrines. The author examines the tension between judgments that attempt to define the essence of religion and in many ways to 'rationalize' it, and a society where religion occupies a prominent space. He places the judicial discourse within the wider political and philosophical context of Indian secularism. Apart from Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India the author focuses on judgments and rulings on Article 44, under the Directive Principles of State Policy, which places a duty on the state to 'secure' a uniform civil code for the nation. His contention is that the Indian Supreme Court has actively aimed at reform and rationalization of obscurantist religious views and institutions and has as a result contributed to a 'homogenization of religion' and also the nation, that it has not shown adequate sensitivity to the pluralism of Indian polity and the rights of minorities. The book explores the tension inherent for the Indian state in the parallel tasks of practicing religious evenhandedness on one hand and introducing reform on the other. It covers judgments from the entire five and a half decades of the Court's existence.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198085355
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/9/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronojoy Sen was awarded a PhD by the University of Chicago, Department of Political Science. This book is based on his PhD dissertation. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. .Defining Religion: The Supreme Court and Hinduism
3. The Doctrine of Essential Practices: The Judges Shape a Rational Hinduism
4. In the Name of God: Regulating Religion in Elections
5. Good Citizens: Religion and Educational Institutions
6. Boundaries of Faith: The Court and Conversion
7. Imposing legal Uniformity: The Court and Muslim Minority Rights
8. Judging Religion: A Nehruvian in Court
9. Conclusion; Bibliography

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